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 Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>