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Faculty Advisor: Dr. Abigail Kerr


Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability with most patients suffering from persistent unilateral upper-limb impairments. These impairments impede daily living and independence as well as impose many other social and financial burdens. Current rehabilitation methods focus on compensatory movements relying largely on the nonimpaired limb. Unfortunately, the current methods of rehabilitation do not effectively promote full recovery of motor skills on the impaired body side. Rehabilitation in a mouse model of stroke has shown promising results, however, the training regimen used is much more intensive than the rehabilitation that human survivors receive, and the minimum amount of intensity required to promote functional benefits is unknown. The current study aims to investigate the effects of intensity of rehabilitation on motor function in the mouse model. Mice were trained preoperatively on a skilled reaching task then given a unilateral photothrombotic stroke. Postoperatively, mice received either traditional training (15 minutes or 100 reaches daily), low intensity training (10 minutes or 50 reaches daily), or modified traditional training (10 minutes or 50 reaches, twice daily). All groups were assessed on the original skilled reaching task after 28 training sessions. The results of this pilot study were inconclusive. Further research should be done to determine if the rehabilitation groups in this study are effective at promoting full recovery of function, with the intent to close the gap between the animal model and human outcomes.



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