Answers to curious stroke cases afoot

21 May 2012

Stroke sufferers with a condition that causes them to apply make-up to or shave only one side of their face tend to have worse recovery rates than other stroke victims.  And Queensland scientists claim to now know why.

Through a series of tests with about 50 healthy volunteers, QBI researchers investigated the impact of attention on the brain’s ability to repair itself.

The results suggest that the best way for stroke victims to recover is to minimise any distractions during rehabilitation therapy and have the patient completely focused on the therapeutic task.

This undivided attention was more likely to increase the brain’s ability to rewire or relearn, a process known as plasticity that is essential for stroke recovery, Dr Kamke said.

“We’re showing the first, convincing evidence that attention is necessary for plasticity to actually occur,” Dr Kamke told AAP.

“When you are totally engrossed in something else, plasticity is not going to occur

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