Diffusion Spectrum Imaging after stroke shows structural changes in the contra-lateral motor network correlating with functional recovery
There is growing interest in understanding the role of the non-injured contra-lateral hemisphere in stroke recovery. In the experimental field, histological evidence has been reported that structural changes occur in the contra-lateral connectivity and circuits during stroke recovery. In humans, some recent imaging studies indicated that contra-lateral sub-cortical pathways and functional and structural cortical networks are remodeling, after stroke. Structural changes in the contra-lateral networks, however, have never been correlated to clinical recovery in patients. To determine the importance of the contra-lateral structural changes in post-stroke recovery, we selected a population of patients with motor deficits after stroke affecting the motor cortex and/or sub-cortical motor white matter. We explored i) the presence of Generalized Fractional Anisotropy (GFA) changes indicating structural alterations in the motor network of patients’ contra-lateral hemisphere as well as their longitudinal evolution ii) the correlation of GFA changes with patients’ clinical scores, stroke size and demographics data iii) and a predictive model.