Stroke have severe impact on your brain functions. All strokes are different so are their effects. Some are relatively minor and may not last long, whereas other may have very long term effects and are more serious.
So to have an in depth knowledge of what happens to the brain following a stroke psychologists from Rice University developed a new method to analyze brain activity.
The new discovery published in “The Cognitive Neuroplasticity of Reading Recovery Following Chronic Stroke: A Representational Similarity Analysis Approach”. It also appears in the current edition of Neural Plasticity. This new method helps researchers to find out how the brain changes after a stroke. This in turn not only aid in patient recovery through better treatments and tools but also an important step to understand what neural changes means in terms of cognitive functions.
In a study, an assistant professor of Psychology Simon Fisher- Baum did an experiment with a patient suffering from brain damage and 20 control participants read words. They took the help of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) to observe the change in the blood flow due to change in the brain activity.
“The major challenge of cognitive neuroscience is to understand how brain processes relate to cognition,” Baum said. “We want to pinpoint exactly what functions are taking place in different regions of the brain, and this research is a step in that direction.”
Moreover, with this technique researchers further examine that how different regions of the brain responded to individual words. Baum said they were able to discover which regions of the brain were involved with reading, pronunciation and comprehension. By comparing the function of different regions in brain-damaged and control participants, they could determine if functional takeover or compensatory masquerade had taken place.
Calling the discovery the significant contribution to the field of neuroplasticity Baum said
“Our logic was simple. If neuroplasticity results in compensatory masquerade, then we expected to find the same function in the same brain regions for the patient and the control group, but we did not. In the patient with a brain injury, orthographic processing (the knowledge of the spellings of words) was being carried out by a region on the right side of the brain, but for control participants, orthographic processing was being done by a region on the left side, a region of the brain that was damaged in the patient. This indicates that functional takeover took place.”