Approximately half of all strokes result in moderate-to-severe disability, making stroke the leading cause of long-term disability in North America. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has emerged as a powerful tool to investigate functional reorganization, temporary or permanent, during the recovery of motor and cognitive functions following stroke, as a means to potentially predict patient outcome and guide rehabilitation. Recently, fMRI studies of stroke recovery have been moving towards a clinical focus, with increased emphasis on longitudinal investigations of recovery. In addition, the integration of fMRI with other imaging modalities such as electroencephalography (EEG) and near-infrared (NIR) diffuse optical tomography is becoming increasingly important to further investigate the spatiotemporal evolution of brain function following stroke. This article will review the literature of longitudinal studies of motor and cognitive recovery using fMRI, as well as discuss issues regarding the possible implementation of fMRI for longitudinal studies of stroke recovery in individual patients.
Keywords: fMRI, stroke, motor, language, memory, recovery
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