Functional imaging of stroke recovery: what have we learnt and where do we go from here?
Functional brain imaging techniques have been used to visualise patterns of activity following stroke and to characterise how these patterns change with recovery or rehabilitation. Some consensus is now emerging on patterns that are predictive of improved outcome, and therapeutic strategies are beginning to be guided by such findings. However, patient heterogeneity predicts that the same approach will not be appropriate for all. Future studies should aim to characterise the factors that influence this heterogeneity, and to individualise rehabilitation strategies based in part on early imaging findings. Functional imaging studies of stroke should also embrace recent methodological and conceptual advances that allow for fuller characterisation of the structural and functional properties of distributed brain networks.