Study finds evidence of post-stroke brain recovery

Charleston Business

A University of South Carolina study using neuroimaging of stroke patients struggling to regain their communication skills has found that brain cells outside the damaged area can take on new roles.

Julius Fridriksson, a researcher at the USC’s Arnold School of Public Health, said the findings offer hope to patients of “chronic stroke,” characterized by the death of cells in a specific area of the brain. The damage results in long-term or permanent disability.

“For years, we heard little about stroke recovery because it was believed that very little could be done,” Fridriksson said. “But this study shows that the adult brain is quite capable of changing, and we are able to see those images now. This will substantially change the treatment for chronic-stroke patients.”

The study, reported in the Sept. 15 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, involved 26 patients with aphasia, a communication disorder caused by damage to the language regions in the brain’s left hemisphere. Aphasia impairs a person’s ability to process language and formulate speech.

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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.