The Neurorecovery Laboratory at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging investigates the neural mechanisms underlying sensorimotor recovery after stroke. Stroke commonly results in loss of the ability to move one side of the body, which can have devastating consequences on one's quality of life. Recovery of movement ability typically occurs during the subsequent weeks to months after stroke. However, this recovery is usually only partial. The goal of the Neurorecovery Laboratory is to improve functional recovery after stroke. We do this by testing novel movement-related interventions, and by bettering our understanding of the neural mechanisms that determine the level of recovery of movement after stroke. If we come to understand these mechanisms, then we will be able to apply this knowledge to develop better ways for accurately predicting recovery and better therapies for maximizing recovery.
Toward our long-term goal, we conduct studies that utilize a variety of neuroimaging technologies, each providing complementary information about the recovery process. We currently use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine activity in specific regions of the brain while a person performs certain hand movements. We use magnetoencephalography (MEG) to examine how the two hemispheres of the brain communicate with one another during hand movement. We use diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine the quality of connections between brain regions involved in movement. By combining information gathered using these technologies, we are learning more about the functional and structural determinants of movement recovery after stroke.