Cognitive and functional recovery after a stroke or traumatic injury requires intense rehabilitative therapy to help the brain repair and restructure itself. New findings by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that not only is rehabilitation vital, but that a longer, even more intense period of rehabilitation may produce even greater benefit.
In recent years, numerous studies have documented the surprising plasticity or ability of the adult central nervous system to recover from injury. The emerging question has been how to best encourage the repair and regrowth of damaged nerve cells and connections.
Researchers studied rats relearning skills and physical abilities. They found rats that received intensive therapy for an extended period of time showed significant restructuring of the brain around the damage site: Surviving neurons sprouted greater numbers of dendritic spines, which made more connections with other neurons. The result, said researcher Tuszynski, was a dramatic 50 percent recovery of function.
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Steffani Dubats JD, Executive Director, Sales Satisfaction, Second Step, Inc.
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