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Cortical thickness changes in the non-lesioned hemisphere associated with non-paretic arm immobilization in modified CI therapy

Sterr, A., Dean, P.J.A., Vieira, G., Conforto, A.B., Shen, S. and Sato, J.R. (2013) Cortical thickness changes in the non-lesioned hemisphere associated with non-paretic arm immobilization in modified CI therapy. NeuroImage: Clinical, 2. pp. 797-803. ISSN 2213-1582

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.nicl.2013.05.005


Recent evidence suggests that immobilization of the upper limb for 2–3 weeks induces changes in cortical thickness as well as motor performance. In constraint induced (CI) therapy, one of the most effective interventions for hemiplegia, the non-paretic arm is constrained to enforce the use of the paretic arm in the home setting. With the present study we aimed to explore whether non-paretic arm immobilization in CI therapy induces structural changes in the non-lesioned hemisphere, and how these changes are related to treatment benefit. 31 patients with chronic hemiparesis participated in CI therapy with (N = 14) and without (N = 17) constraint. Motor ability scores were acquired before and after treatment. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data was obtained prior to treatment. Cortical thickness was measured with the Freesurfer software. In both groups cortical thickness in the contralesional primary somatosensory cortex increased and motor function improved with the intervention. However the cortical thickness change was not associated with the magnitude of motor function improvement. Moreover, the treatment effect and the cortical thickness change were not significantly different between the constraint and the non-constraint groups. There was no correlation between fractional anisotropy changes in the non-lesioned hemisphere and treatment outcome. CI therapy induced cortical thickness changes in contralesional sensorimotor regions, but this effect does not appear to be driven by the immobilization of the non-paretic arm, as indicated by the absence of differences between the constraint and the non-constraint groups. Our data does not suggest that the arm immobilization used in CI therapy is associated with noticeable cortical thinning.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
ID Code:33050


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