Enhancing Brain Plasticity to Promote Stroke Recovery

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Stroke disturbs both the structural and functional integrity of the brain. The understanding of stroke pathophysiology has improved greatly in the past several decades. However, effective therapy is still limited, especially for patients who are in the subacute or chronic phase. Multiple novel therapies have been developed to improve clinical outcomes by improving brain plasticity. These approaches either focus on improving brain remodeling and restoration or on constructing a neural bypass to avoid brain injury. This review describes emerging therapies, including modern rehabilitation, brain stimulation, cell therapy, brain-computer interfaces, and peripheral nervous transfer, and highlights treatment-induced plasticity. Key evidence from basic studies on the underlying mechanisms is also briefly discussed. These insights should lead to a deeper understanding of the overall neural circuit changes, the clinical relevance of these changes in stroke, and stroke treatment progress, which will assist in the development of future approaches to enhance brain function after stroke.

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