Applied strategies of neuroplasticity

Handb Clin Neurol. 2023:196:599-609. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-323-98817-9.00011-9.


Various levels of somatotopic organization are present throughout the human nervous system. However, this organization can change when needed based on environmental demands, a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity can occur when learning a new motor skill, adjusting to life after blindness, or following a stroke. Following an injury, these neuroplastic changes can be adaptive or maladaptive, and often occur regardless of whether rehabilitation occurs or not. But not all movements produce neuroplasticity, nor do all rehabilitation interventions. Here, we focus on research regarding how to maximize adaptive neuroplasticity while also minimizing maladaptive plasticity, known as applied neuroplasticity. Emphasis is placed on research exploring how best to apply neuroplastic principles to training environments and rehabilitation protocols. By studying and applying these principles in research and clinical practice, it is hoped that learning of skills and regaining of function and independence can be optimized.

Keywords: Brain injury; Motor learning; Neuroplasticity; Neurorehabilitation; Occupational therapy; Physical therapy; Stroke; Transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Motor Skills*
  • Movement
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurosurgical Procedures