Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Broken arm? Brain shifts quickly when using a sling or cast

17.01.2012
Using a sling or cast after injuring an arm may cause your brain to shift quickly to adjust, according to a study published in the January 17, 2012, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found increases in the size of brain areas that were compensating for the injured side, and decreases in areas that were not being used due to the cast or sling.

"These results are especially interesting for rehabilitation therapy for people who've had strokes or other issues," said study author Nicolas Langer, MSc, with the University of Zurich in Switzerland. "One type of therapy restrains the unaffected, or "good," arm to strengthen the affected arm and help the brain learn new pathways. This study shows that there are both positive and negative effects of this type of treatment."

For the study, researchers examined 10 right-handed people with an injury of the upper right arm that required a sling for at least 14 days. The entire right arm and hand were restricted to little or no movement during the study period. As a result, participants used their non-dominant left hand for daily activities such as washing, using a toothbrush, eating or writing. None of the people in the study had a brain injury, psychiatric disease or nerve injury.

The group underwent two MRI brain scans, the first within two days of the injury and the second within 16 days of wearing the cast or sling. The scans measured the amount of gray and white matter in the brain. Participants' motor skills, including arm-hand movements and wrist-finger speed, were also tested.

The study found that amount of gray and white matter in the left side of the brain decreased up to ten percent, while the amount of gray and white matter in the right side of the brain increased in size.

"We also saw improved motor skills in the left, non-injured hand, which directly related to an increase in thickness in the right side of the brain," said Langer. "These structural changes in the brain are associated with skill transfer from the right hand to the left hand."

Langer noted that the study did not look at whether the decreases would be permanent.

"Further studies should examine whether using a restraint for stroke patients is really a necessity for improving arm and hand movement," he said. "Our results also support the current trauma surgery guidelines stating that an injured arm or leg should be immobilized 'as short as possible, as long as necessary.'"

The study was supported by the National Center of Competence in Research and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of 24,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

Rachel Seroka | American Academy of Neurology
Further information:
http://www.aan.com

Further reports about: Academy Academy of Neurology Brain Broken arm Neurology brain injury

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>