Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Improving Stroke Recovery by Timing Treatment

Science Signaling  17 Jun 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 330, pp. ec167
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005588

Patients recovering from strokes often fight a long uphill battle, with mixed results. Studying the effect of physical training on regeneration from damaged nerves in a model of stroke in rats, Wahl et al. show that timing matters. First, the researchers gave the rats a stroke, which damaged their ability to reach for food pellets with their forelimbs. The researchers then gave them physical training and treated them with an antibody to encourage neural regeneration. The rats improved more when the researchers waited until after the antibody treatment to start the training. Damaged circuits, it seems, need a little time to regrow before being called into action.

A. S. Wahl, W. Omlor, J. C. Rubio, J. L. Chen, H. Zheng, A. Schröter, M. Gullo, O. Weinmann, K. Kobayashi, F. Helmchen, B. Ommer, M. E. Schwab, Asynchronous therapy restores motor control by rewiring of the rat corticospinal tract after stroke. Science 344, 1250–1255 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]