Recovery of motor and language abilities after stroke: the contribution of functional imaging

Prog Neurobiol. 2002 Feb;66(2):109-22. doi: 10.1016/s0301-0082(01)00027-2.


In recent years, functional imaging techniques, like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), have shown that the improvement of motor and language function after ischemic stroke is accompanied by extensive reorganizational changes in the human cortex. To better understand these changes and to judge to what extent they could be responsible for clinical improvement, some basic principles of the organization of the motor and language system are discussed.Non-invasive functional imaging can have only a limited contribution in determining which of the possible underlying neural mechanisms, as they are known from animal experiments, play a role in functional recovery. However, they make it possible to define the functional consequences of anatomical lesions in individual patients and to correlate these functional consequences in the motor and language system with the clinical deficit. They can be used to assess the influence on the cortical reorganization of established and newer physiotherapies, logopedics and medical intervention, and they could be a useful tool in determining prognosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke / therapy