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Motor action selection engages a network of frontal and parietal brain regions. After stroke, individuals activate a similar network, however, activation is higher, especially in the contralesional hemisphere. The current study examined the effect of practice on action selection performance and brain activation after stroke. Sixteen individuals with chronic stroke (Upper Extremity Fugl–Meyer motor score range: 18–61) moved a joystick with the more-impaired hand in two conditions: Select (externally cued choice; move right or left based on an abstract rule) and Execute (simple response; move same direction every trial). On Day 1, reaction time (RT) was longer in Select compared to Execute, which corresponded to increased activation primarily in regions in the contralesional action selection network including dorsal premotor, supplementary motor, anterior cingulate and parietal cortices. After 4 days of practice, behavioural performance improved (decreased RT), and only contralesional parietal cortex significantly increased during Select. Higher brain activation on Day 1 in the bilateral action selection network, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and contralesional sensory cortex predicted better performance on Day 4. Overall, practice led to improved action selection performance and reduced brain activation. Systematic changes in practice conditions may allow the targeting of specific components of the motor network during rehabilitation after stroke.

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APA Citation

Stewart, J. C., Baird, J. F., Lewis, A. F., Fritz, S. L., & Fridriksson, J. (2022). Effect of behavioural practice targeted at the Motor Action Selection Network after stroke. European Journal of Neuroscience, 56(4), 4469–4485.


© 2022 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience published by Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.