The development of advanced noninvasive techniques to image the human brain has enabled the demonstration of structural plasticity during adulthood in response to motor learning. Understanding the basic mechanisms of structural plasticity in the context of motor learning is essential to improve motor rehabilitation in stroke patients. Here, we review and discuss the emerging evidence for motor-learning-related structural plasticity and the implications for stroke rehabilitation. In the clinical context, a few studies have started to assess the effects of rehabilitation on structural measures to understand recovery poststroke and additionally to predict intervention outcomes. Structural imaging will likely have a role in the future in providing measures that inform patient stratification for optimal outcomes.
Annu Rev Neurosci
25 - 40
MRI, motor learning, stroke rehabilitation, structural plasticity