Upper limb movements and cerebral plasticity in post-stroke rehabilitation

Stefano Masiero, Elena Carraro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rehabilitative interventions for the plegic/paretic upper limb of stroke survivors are more effective if they are early, intensive, and provide multisensory stimulation. Various rehabilitative approaches have been proposed to date, but little has been published on clinical efficacy. The mechanism underlying recovery of neurological injury after stroke is still incompletely understood, but more than one process is probably involved and cerebral plasticity undoubtedly plays a key role. The goal of this review was to identify which movements and type of therapeutic arm exercises may influence cerebral plasticity in plegic/paretic stroke survivors. Evidence suggests that plasticity is stimulated more by the arm's movement trajectory than by its final position in space. Rehabilitation should be based on simple, repetitive, unidirectional or, better still, complex and multidirectional movements in all spatial planes, such as circular or spiral movements. It should also incorporate a feedback system, since this seems to bring about earlier and better motor and functional outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-108
Number of pages6
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Movement
  • Neuronal plasticity
  • Recovery of function
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing


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