January 29, 2018

CPSR catalyst funding enabled Dr. Numa Dancause of the Universite de Montreal to collect novel preliminary data that suggest lesion location strongly affects mechanisms of neuroplasticity after stroke. And, accordingly, lesion location is likely a key factor that influences recovery.

These preliminary data justified investigating further the impact of lesion location on plasticity and recovery after stroke in relevant models and helped formulate the hypotheses proposed in a CIHR grant, which was recently awarded $903K over five years. Congratulations to Dr. Dancause!

Read the lay description of his research project here:

Stroke can damage different regions of the brain. After the injury, patients often suffer the loss of functions of the hand. Time and rehabilitation can provide some recovery of function but it is usually incomplete. Better treatments are necessary, but to achieve this we need to understand the mechanisms involved in recovery.

Some imaging studies report that after a stroke, the unaffected regions of the brain change their activity during recovery. This suggests that these spared areas could be involved in recovery. However, the way they can do so remains unclear. This is particularly a problem for the areas in the hemisphere opposite to the lesion, the contralesional hemisphere. Some studies suggest that this hemisphere helps the recovery while others show it hinders recovery, and this appears to be influenced by the location of the lesion. The broad goal of our project is to understand how lesion location affects changes in contralesional areas and, as a result, the role these areas undertake in recovery.

Our experiments will greatly increase our understanding of the mechanisms that allow contralesional areas to take a good or bad role in recovery and how the location of lesion affects these processes