This site is intended for non healthcare professionals. For the professional site, please click here

04/02/2003 - News

Brain reorganises itself after injury

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Imaging studies reveal that the brain reorganises itself to recover function after various kinds of injury.

Doctors at the University of Illinois have used functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess brain activity in people who have recovered some movement ability after brain injury. The damage was due to cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or stroke, and these people had all recovered at least some of the action in their hand.

Healthy individuals show most brain activity in the motor cortex of the brain when they move the hands. In patients who'd suffered neurological damage, other neighboring areas of the brain took over, as shown by the imaging. In some patients, the cerebellum at the back of the brain also assumed control of hand motion.

Prior to the study, it was assumed that the patients with cerebral palsy would show the most brain reorganization, as the damage occurs at a very young age in this condition. There are many more years, therefore, for the brain to reorganize itself compared to cases of multiple sclerosis and stroke, where damage is of more recent origin. But extensive reorganization of brain activity was found in all cases in this study. It's encouraging to learn that the brain has such a remarkable ability to adapt after injury - and this study has some important implications for rehabilitation.


American Academy of Neurology Meeting 1st April 2003

Created on: 04/02/2003
Reviewed on: 04/02/2003

Your rating: None

Add your comment

  • Allowed HTML tags: <p><b><em> <strong> <cite> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.