Summary CPfenninger

Optimizing Motor Simulation Techniques in Stroke Neuro-Rehabilitation

Stroke is a major cause of disability worldwide. Motor impairments following a stroke are usually limited to a patient's hemibody. Although the patient often regains the benefit of walking, upper limb injuries persist in more than 60% of cases and cause a loss of independence and a reduction in the patient's quality of life.

In these patients, the major challenge is the motor recovery of the upper limb. However, voluntary muscle activation is often limited or even impossible in the early phases after stroke, which are the most optimal phases for functional recovery. In order to optimize rehabilitation of patients from the very beginning of their treatment, the use of motor simulations such as mirror therapy, motor imaging or action observation are possible and have already demonstrated their value in movement relearning and motor control. These neuro-rehabilitation methods, by increasing corticospinal excitability, make it possible to improve cerebral plasticity and thus to modulate existing neuronal pathways or to create new neurons. Nevertheless, although beneficial, these methods are only rarely used in rehabilitation centers because they are too complex to implement.

Our project will be to optimize these motor simulation techniques in order to propose a new device to optimize upper limb functional recovery in post-stroke patients.