Pharmacological therapies to enhance motor recovery and walking after stroke: emerging strategies
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Stroke is the most common serious neurological disorder. To date, the focus for research and trials has been on prevention and acute care. Many patients are left with serious neurological impairments and limitations in activity and participation after stroke. Recent preliminary research and trials suggest that the brain is 'plastic' and that the natural history of stroke recovery can be improved by physical therapy and pharmacotherapy. Motor weakness and the ability to walk have been the primary targets for testing interventions that may improve recovery after stroke. Physical therapeutic interventions enhance recovery after stroke; however, the timing, duration and type of intervention require clarification and further trials. Pharmacotherapy, in particular with dopaminergic and selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, shows promise in enhancing motor recovery after stroke; however, further large-scale trials are required.
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