Posts Tagged constraint induced movement therapy

[WEB SITE] Constraint Mitt – Constraint Induced Movement Therapy 

In order to ensure total focus on the affected arm and hand, you will wear a constraint mitt on your unaffected side for most of the CIMT programme. The constraint mitt is a lightweight glove that fits on your hand and wrist.

To gain the most benefit from constraint induced movement therapy you should wear the mitt for 90% of your waking hours. On the first day of your CIMT programme your therapist will go through your daily routine in detail with you to agree the specific activities when you are allowed to remove the mitt. These may include:

  • Personal care activities (eg toileting, bathing)
  • Dangerous activities (eg driving, tasks with sharp or hot objects)
  • Activities involving water (eg showering)

A detailed list of activities will be drawn up and you will sign a contract to agree to only remove the mitt for an activity on the list. This gives you strict guidance on wearing the mitt and helps you to obtain maximum benefit from the CIMT programme.

While wearing the mitt you will find day-to-day activities more difficult. We therefore strongly recommend you complete a CIMT programme with support from a partner, family member or carer. They will be able to assist in tasks and allow you to wear the mitt for longer, which will help with your progress. Your CIMT therapist will provide guidance to your supporter on how they can help you while also promoting use of your affected side.

It is common to feel frustration while wearing the mitt. Constraint induced movement therapy is an intensive and challenging process. However, if you persevere with a CIMT programme you will make some significant improvements over a short period of time.

On completion of the programme you may take the constraint mitt with you – either to continue practice or as a memento of your hard work!

Source: Constraint Mitt | Our programmes for adults | Adults | CIMT | Constraint Induced Movement Therapy| Treatment for hemiplegia in Manchester City Centre

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[ARTICLE] Video Game Rehabilitation for Outpatient Stroke (VIGoROUS): protocol for a multi-center comparative effectiveness trial of in-home gamified constraint-induced movement therapy for rehabilitation of chronic upper extremity hemiparesis – Full Text




Constraint-Induced Movement therapy (CI therapy) is shown to reduce disability, increase use of the more affected arm/hand, and promote brain plasticity for individuals with upper extremity hemiparesis post-stroke. Randomized controlled trials consistently demonstrate that CI therapy is superior to other rehabilitation paradigms, yet it is available to only a small minority of the estimated 1.2 million chronic stroke survivors with upper extremity disability. The current study aims to establish the comparative effectiveness of a novel, patient-centered approach to rehabilitation utilizing newly developed, inexpensive, and commercially available gaming technology to disseminate CI therapy to underserved individuals. Video game delivery of CI therapy will be compared against traditional clinic-based CI therapy and standard upper extremity rehabilitation. Additionally, individual factors that differentially influence response to one treatment versus another will be examined.


This protocol outlines a multi-site, randomized controlled trial with parallel group design. Two hundred twenty four adults with chronic hemiparesis post-stroke will be recruited at four sites. Participants are randomized to one of four study groups: (1) traditional clinic-based CI therapy, (2) therapist-as-consultant video game CI therapy, (3) therapist-as-consultant video game CI therapy with additional therapist contact via telerehabilitation/video consultation, and (4) standard upper extremity rehabilitation. After 6-month follow-up, individuals assigned to the standard upper extremity rehabilitation condition crossover to stand-alone video game CI therapy preceded by a therapist consultation. All interventions are delivered over a period of three weeks. Primary outcome measures include motor improvement as measured by the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT), quality of arm use for daily activities as measured by Motor Activity Log (MAL), and quality of life as measured by the Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders (NeuroQOL).


This multi-site RCT is designed to determine comparative effectiveness of in-home technology-based delivery of CI therapy versus standard upper extremity rehabilitation and in-clinic CI therapy. The study design also enables evaluation of the effect of therapist contact time on treatment outcomes within a therapist-as-consultant model of gaming and technology-based rehabilitation.


Clinical practice guidelines recommend outpatient rehabilitation for stroke survivors who remain disabled after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation [1]. Although these guidelines recommend that the majority of stroke survivors receive at least some outpatient rehabilitation [2], many cannot access long-term care [3]. Among those individuals who do undergo outpatient rehabilitation, the standard of care for upper extremity rehabilitation is suboptimal.

In an observational study of 312 rehabilitation sessions (83 occupational and physical therapists at 7 rehabilitation sites), Lang and colleagues [4] found that functional rehabilitation (i.e., movement that accomplishes a functional task, such as eating, as opposed to strength training or passive movement) was provided in only 51% of the sessions of upper extremity rehabilitation, with only 45 repetitions per session on average. This is concerning given that empirically-validated interventions incorporate higher doses of active motor practice [5, 6, 7]. Additionally, functional upper extremity movements are most likely to generalize to everyday tasks [8], an aspect of recovery that is critically important to patients and their families [9, 10, 11]. Yet, passive movement and non-goal-directed exercise are more frequently administered [4].

There appear to be at least two critical elements required for successful upper extremity motor rehabilitation: 1) motor practice that is sufficiently intense and 2) techniques to carryover motor improvements to functional activities. Carry-over techniques to increase a person’s use of the more affected upper extremity for daily activities are extremely important for rehabilitation and appear necessary for structural brain change [12, 13, 14, 15]. When rehabilitation incorporates these techniques, there is substantially improved improvement in self-perceived quality of arm use for daily activities [12, 16]. Carry-over techniques enable the patient to overcome the conditioned suppression of movement (learned nonuse) characteristic of chronic hemiparesis [17]. Techniques include structured self-monitoring, a treatment contract, daily home practice of specific functional motor skills, and guided problem-solving to overcome perceived barriers to using the extremity [18].

Constraint-Induced Movement therapy (CI therapy) has strong empirical backing [5, 19] and combines high-repetition functional practice of the more affected arm with behavioral techniques to enhance carry-over [13, 18]. CI therapy produces consistently superior motor performance and retention of gains versus standard upper extremity rehabilitation [20, 21], particularly when it includes the critically important carry-over (transfer package) techniques [12]. When compared to other equally intensive interventions (i.e., equal hours of training on functional tasks), CI therapy with carry-over (transfer package) techniques has also shown enhanced carry-over of clinical gains to daily activities [12, 13, 22, 23, 24] that are retained for at least 2 years [19, 25, 26, 27, 28].

Despite its inclusion in best practice recommendations [29, 30], CI therapy is available to only a very small minority of those who could benefit from it in the US. CI therapy is not typically covered by insurance and the 30+ hours of assessment and physical training cost upwards of $6000. Access barriers for the patient include limited transportation and insurance coverage, whereas therapists may have difficulty accommodating the CI therapy schedule [31, 32]. Access barriers aside, CI therapy has also been plagued by a variety of misconceptions regarding use of restraint and the transfer package. Most iterations of CI therapy employ use of a restraint mitt to promote use of the affected arm, which is viewed by many patients and clinicians as excessively prohibitive [32]. Yet, literature demonstrates that restraint is not specifically required to achieve positive outcomes [33, 34]. Moreover, the transfer package, a component found to be critical [13, 14], is omitted from the majority of research studies on CI therapy [35].

To address transportation barriers, a telerehabilitation model of CI therapy delivery (AutoCITE) has been tested. AutoCITE is a large specialized motor apparatus (not commercially available, cost not established) that was installed in patients’ homes to enable therapeutic manipulation of actual objects with continuous video monitoring via Internet. This telerehabilitation approach demonstrated efficacy approximately equivalent to that of in-clinic CI therapy [36, 37, 38], thus establishing the feasibility of utilizing technology to deliver CI therapy remotely. However, this system involved specialized equipment at a high cost and did not become available outside a research setting.

To more fully address the barriers to accessing CI therapy and to counter the misconceptions surrounding CI therapy, a patient-centered treatment approach was developed that incorporated the high-repetition practice and carry-over strategies from CI therapy, while reforming non-patient-centric elements of the protocol that lack strong empirical support (i.e., the restraint). To deliver engaging high-repetition practice, a Kinect-based video game was created that can accommodate a wide range of motor disability, can be customized to each user, and automatically progresses in difficulty as the individual’s performance improves (termed “shaping” in the CI therapy literature). A player’s body movements drive game play (there is no external controller), which makes the game easy to use for those who may be unfamiliar with technology. To date, such high-repetition practice through motor gaming [39] has shown initial promise compared to traditional clinic-based approaches [40]. To promote increased use of the weaker arm, a smart watch biofeedback application is utilized in lieu of the restraint mitt. This application counts movements made with the weaker arm and provides alerts when a period of inactivity is detected. Previous approaches for providing CI therapy in the home and reducing the amount of therapist effort have been carried out [36, 37, 38, 41]. These approaches automated the delivery of training and permitted remote supervision of the training via an Internet-based audio-visual link, but did not embed the training within the context of a video game, rely on manipulation of virtual objects, or incorporate a patient-centric substitute for the mitt.

Initial evidence from a pilot trial of this system (Borstad A, Crawfis R, Phillips K, Pax Lowes L, Worthen-Chaudhari L, Maung D, et al.: In-home delivery of constraint induced movement therapy via virtual reality gaming is safe and feasible: a pilot study, submitted) suggests that improvements in motor speed, as measured by Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT) performance time [42], an outcome of prime importance to stroke survivors, are approximately equivalent to those reported in the traditional CI therapy literature [5, 13, 19, 25]. Qualitative data reveal that the technology is accepted irrespective of age, technological expertise, ethnicity, or cultural background. Thus, this technology has the potential to address the main barriers to adoption of CI therapy, while reducing the cost of care. A randomized clinical trial is now required to provide Level 1 evidence of the comparative effectiveness of this novel model of CI therapy delivery. Data from this trial will enable individuals with motor disability to evaluate whether a home-based video game therapy has the potential to help them meet their rehabilitation goals compared to in-clinic CI therapy and traditional approaches. By combining novel gaming elements with the transfer package from CI therapy, this trial will also address a major limitation of rehabilitation gaming interventions that have been tried to date: extremely limited emphasis on carry-over of training to daily activities.

The primary objective of this trial is to compare the effectiveness of two video game-based models of CI therapy versus traditional clinic-based CI therapy versus standard upper extremity rehabilitation for improving upper extremity motor function. One video gaming group will match the number of total hours spent on the CI therapy transfer package, but will involve fewer days of therapist-client interaction (4 versus 10); the other will match the number of interactions with a therapist to that of clinic-based CI therapy using video consultation between in-person sessions and, as such, will involve more therapist contact hours spent focusing on the transfer package. The secondary objective of this project is to promote personalized medicine by examining individual factors that may differentially influence response to one treatment versus another.

Continue —>  Video Game Rehabilitation for Outpatient Stroke (VIGoROUS): protocol for a multi-center comparative effectiveness trial of in-home gamified constraint-induced movement therapy for rehabilitation of chronic upper extremity hemiparesis | BMC Neurology | Full Text

Fig. 1 Screen capture of the Recovery Rapids gaming environment

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[VIDEO] FAQs about CIMT for adults –  Constraint Induced Movement Therapy

Source: FAQs | CIMT | Constraint Induced Movement Therapy

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[ARTICLE] Can Short-Term Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy Combined With Visual Biofeedback Training Improve Hemiplegic Upper Limb Function of Subacute Stroke Patients? – Full Text


ObjectiveTo Investigate the synergic effects of short-term constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) and visual biofeedback training (VBT) in subacute stroke patients.

MethodsThirty-two subacute stroke patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to one of three groups: short-term CIMT with VBT, VBT only, and control groups. We applied CIMT for an hour daily during VBT instead of the ordinary restraint time, referred to as ‘short-term’ CIMT. Short-term CIMT with VBT group received simultaneous VBT with CIMT, whereas the VBT the only group received VBT without CIMT for an hour a day for 2 weeks. The control group received conventional occupational therapy (OT) alone. Patients underwent the Purdue Pegboard Test, the JAMAR grip strength test, the Wolf Motor Function Test, the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (upper extremity), Motricity index and the Korean version of Modified Barthel Index test to evaluate motor functions of the hemiplegic upper limb at baseline, post-treatment, and 2 weeks after treatment.

ResultsNo significant differences were observed between short-term CIMT with VBT and VBT only groups. Both groups showed significantly higher scores compared to the control group in the WMFT and FMA tests. However, the short-term CIMT with VBT group showed significant improvement (p<0.05) compared with the control group in both grasp and pad pinch at post-treatment and 2 weeks after treatment while the VBT only group did not.

ConclusionShort-term CIMT with VBT group did not show significant improvement of hemiplegic upper limb function of subacute stroke patients, compared to VBT only group. Larger sample sizes and different restraint times would be needed to clarify the effect.


Most stroke survivors have upper limb motor impairments, along with difficulties in performing activities of daily living [1]. Currently, there are several known intervention treatments for functional recovery of the upper limb after stroke.

Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) has been shown to enhance hemiplegic upper limb functions at both early and late stages of post-stroke [2]. The test was developed by Taub et al. [3] to improve the function of the affected upper limb by limiting the motion of the intact upper limb and induce affected upper limb movement [4, 5]. The original CIMT program consisted of 2 weeks of restraining the unaffected upper limb for 90% of waking hours combined with forced use of the affected upper limb for approximately 6 hours per day during task-oriented activities. However, Page et al. [6] reported that 68% of 208 stroke patients said that they were disinterested in participating in CIMT. One domestic research study showed that 12 out of 46 patients dropped out when they participated in CIMT lasting for 14 hours daily for 2 weeks. The most common reason for dropping out in this study was the lack of participation in training time [7]. Therefore, in a clinical setting, various modified CIMT methods have been developed to improve participation rates.

Recently visual biofeedback training (VBT) has been studied and introduced as a therapeutic option because VBT might improve motor performance by effectively tuning the control structure [8]. Also, Kim et al. [9] reported a significant effect of spatial target reaching training based on visual biofeedback of the upper limb function in hemiplegic subjects. In their previous article, VBT group showed more significant improvement than the control group in the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT) and the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA).

Several other studies have also been developed that recognize the effect of CIMT combined with other treatments [10, 11, 12]. In these trials, unaffected upper limbs were restrained for several hours daily, even when participants were not taking other combined therapies. However, it is not easy to apply restraint for more than 5 to 6 hours daily in a clinical setting and longer restraint times can compromise a patient’s therapeutic compliance. To overcome these limitations, it is necessary to find out whether there is any modified therapies have any effects such as a reduced restraint time in CIMT during combined therapy.

In this study, we applied a new CIMT protocol in a clinical setting, while maintaining the existing concept of CIMT. Both CIMT and VBT were performed simultaneously for 1 hour daily for 2 weeks. CMT is hereafter referred to as ‘short-term’ CIMT. We examined the effects of short-term CIMT combined with VBT on gross and fine motor functions and daily functions in patients with subacute hemiplegic strokes. We hypothesized that study participant who received short-term CIMT with VBT would demonstrate more improved outcomes than patients who received VBT alone.

Continue —> KoreaMed Synapse

Fig. 3. The patient with right hemiparesis received ‘behavior simulation.’ The patient held a disc grip by finger flexors. (A) The patient tried to put the spoon in the bowl by forearm pronation. (B) On the other hand, the patient was required to supinate his forearm for getting the spoon to the mouth. There were three patients with left hemiparesis. (C) One received short-term CIMT and VBT simultaneously. (D) Another patient received only VBT. (E) Both patients participated in the catch balls’ game. The other patient received conventional occupational therapy. CIMT, constraint-induced movement therapy; VBT, visual biofeedback training.

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[VIDEO] Lydia’s Story – Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) – YouTube

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[WEB SITE] What is CIMT – Constraint Induced Movement Therapy

What is CIMT?

Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (“CIMT” or “CI Therapy”) is a form of rehabilitation of the arm and hand following a neurological event such as a stroke.

Constraint induced movement therapy is suitable for adults with hemiplegia, where one arm is weaker than the other. CIMT involves rehabilitation of the weaker arm while restraining the stronger arm. CIMT can make significant and lasting improvements to the amount and quality of use of the affected arm, which can have a major impact on your quality of life and function.

Constraint induced movement therapy has a large body of scientific research behind it and the effects of the treatment have been shown not only on the hand and arm, but on the brain itself.

A constraint induced movement therapy programme is short but intensive. Treatment is provided daily over a period of 2 to 3 weeks and led by a specialist physiotherapist or occupational therapist. You will wear a restraint “mitt” on your stronger hand for 90% of your waking hours throughout the programme, and take part in intensive therapy sessions as well as home practice.

Explore our website for more information, or contact us to speak directly with one of our CIMT therapists.

Source: What is CIMT | CIMT | Constraint Induced Movement Therapy

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[ARTICLE] Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy in Compared to Traditional Therapy in Chronic Post-stroke patients – Full Text PDF


Introduction: Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) forces the use of the affected side by restraining the unaffected side. The purpose of this article is to explore the changes of motor and functional performance after modified CIMT (mCIMT) in comparison with traditional rehabilitation (TR) in chronic post-stroke patients.

Material and Methods: A total of 12 patients randomly assigned into two treatment groups. Six patients in the mCIMT group received intensive training in a more affected limb for 2 hours daily, 5 days/week using shaping method over a period of 21 days. Participants less affected limb were restrained in arm – hand splint with a target of wearing it for 5 hours daily. The patients in TR group received bimanual and unilateral activities, stretching, strengthening and coordination exercises of the impaired side, tone modification and coordination exercises of the affected side. The focus was to increase independence in activities of daily living activities using affected side. The motor activity log (MAL), wolf motor function test (WMFT), and modified ashworth scale were measured at pre-test (1 day before training), posttest (1 day after training) and follow-up in 3 weeks after training.

Results: The Friedman test found significant differences between pre-test, post-test, and follow-up in MAL and WMFT in mCIMT group. Furthermore, mCIMT group showed significant decreased spasticity (P = 0.030) that measured by ash worth scale. The effect sizes between post-test and pre-test in the above-mentioned outcome measures were moderate to large in mCIMT, ranging from 0.3 to 0.76, but in TR group the effect size were small, ranging from 0 to 0.2.

Conclusion: Therefore, it seems that the mCIMT treatment was more effective than TR in improving some parameters.

Download the PDF file 

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[ARTICLE] Adherence to modified constraint-induced movement therapy: the case for meaningful occupation – Full Text


INTRODUCTION: Modified constraint-induced movement therapy (mCIMT) has been shown to improve function of an affected upper limb post stroke. However, factors influencing adherence of individuals undertaking a mCIMT protocol require further investigation.

AIM: To explore the experience of two participants undergoing a mCIMT protocol and examine factors influencing adherence to the protocol.

METHODS: A qualitative case study design was used. Two participants with upper limb hemiparesis following a stroke were recruited and received mCIMT (two hours of therapy, three days per week for a total of two weeks). During the treatment period, participants were also encouraged to wear the restraint mitt for four hours per day at home.

RESULTS: Participants reported increased confidence and self-esteem following participation, as well as improvements in bi-lateral upper limb function. Participants reported the mCIMT protocol as being highly frustrating. However, motivation to adhere to the protocol was positively influenced by the meaningfulness of the occupations attempted.

CONCLUSION: Although mCIMT can prove frustrating, meaningful occupations may act as a powerful motivator towards adherence to a mCIMT protocol. Further research is required.


What is already known: The literature on the effectiveness of constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) and its modifications (mCIMT), to improve motor issues post stroke, is broad and conclusive. However, the demands and rigor of CIMT or mCIMT can influence compliance negatively.
What this study adds: This study offers an insight into the experience of undergoing mCIMT. In relation to client motivation and adherence to protocol, it highlights the importance of meaningful and psychologically rewarding occupations.

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[WEB SITE] Constraint Induced Movement Therapy

  • Use it or lose it

    The human brain has been shown to modify itself constantly as a result of learning.
    Similar modifications take place after brain damage resulting in recovery of function.

    Constraint-Induced Movement therapy (CIMT/ CIT) or CI therapy is a new therapeutic approach to rehabilitation of hand and arm movement after stroke, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injury, multiple sclerosis (MS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). CI therapy consists of a family of treatments that teach the brain to “rewire” itself following a neurological injury. CI therapy is based on research by Prof. Edward Taub and his collaborators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA that showed that patients can learn to improve movement of the weaker part of their bodies.CIMT is a 2-3 week treatment program that includes restraint of the non-affected hand for most of the waking hours and intensive practice of the affected one for specific hours per day. Practice is focused on everyday activities that are important for the patient and takes place in the clinic and at home. The daily home-based program is tailor made to match each person’s abilities and interests.

Continue —> Constraint Induced Movement Therapy | Constraint Induced Movement Therapy

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[ARTICLE] Neural Plasticity in Rehabilitation and Psychotherapy: New Perspectives and Findings.

Publication Cover

Print ISSN: 2190-8370 Online ISSN: 2151-2604 Published in German from 1890 to 2006 and in English since 2007

It is only a short period of time since one of the most basic convictions about the brain, postulated by the Spanish neuroanatomist, Santiago Ramon y Cajal, became undermined by new and opposing discoveries. In 1928, Ramon y Cajal postulated that the neural setup of the human brain would be fixed and unable to change beyond the end of maturation of the brain around the age of 22–24 years. What structure or function of the human brain is not shaped until that time point by an individual’s interaction with her/his physical and social environments and through learning and adaptation would not be changeable any more during the succeeding years of life. The only accepted reason for change was damage of the brain by traumatization and/or inflammation or by changes in genetic functioning. This view of the human brain has changed considerably since the early 1970s and has been replaced by a myriad of experimental evidence demonstrating that the brain’s structure and functions are open to change throughout the whole lifetime.

The terms coined for this form of modification are “neuroplasticity” and “reorganization.” Although there is currently no generally accepted definition of neuroplasticity and reorganization, most contemporary scientists in this field would agree that neuroplasticity refers to a property at all levels of the human brain, that is, from molecules to larger cortical neural networks, to adapt its structures and functions to environmental pressures, experiences, and challenges, including brain damage (Johansson, 2011; Merzenich, Van Vleet, & Nahum, 2014). In addition, neural reorganization refers to the capacity of the brain to extend and/or change the control of behavior, cognition, and emotion by enlarging the neural networks involved through learning-induced response coordination (Merzenich et al., 2014). Other options represent optimization and economizing the activity of neural networks or the transference of the control of behavior and cognition to other structures that formerly did not control these actions (Merzenich, 2013). The latter was often addressed as rewiring the brain.

Three forms of neuroplasticity and reorganization can further be distinguished by: (a) developmental or maturational plasticity, where changes of brain structures and functions occur as a function of natural development and maturation; (b) adaptive neuroplasticity, where plasticity is induced in the course of adaptation to new environmental conditions, by learning and by skill formation, and (c) restorative neuroplasticity, where plasticity and reorganization occur as a consequence of trauma, inflammation, or epigenetic reprogramming (Will, Dalrymple-Alford, Wolff, & Cassel, 2008).

Following the conviction of the Nobel laureate Eric Kandel (1979, 2008) that any positive outcome of therapy and rehabilitative measure will only occur when the interventions significantly change the underlying neural structures and/or functions of the brain, the present topical issue of the Zeitschrift für Psychologie focuses on structural and functional plasticity of the brain as a result of behavioral and cognitive training and training of emotion regulation in several areas of therapy and rehabilitation.

The first article by Thomas Straube (2016) presents recent findings and developments of neuroplasticity in the psychotherapy of anxiety disorders. He summarizes current evidence that cognitive and behavioral interventions have demonstrated massive cortical plasticity of structures and functions that are considered central in the generation and individual expression of anxiety, like the amygdala, the anterior cerebral cortex (ACC), the insula, and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. He also presents a number of methodological issues in the use of functional brain imaging techniques that are critical in order to obtain valid experimental results in this field.

Thomas Weiss (2016) comprehensively summarizes current evidence for neural plasticity and cortical reorganization in subjects suffering from chronic pain in the next paper. In contrast to traditional views that postulated changes of peripheral neural systems being central causes of chronicity, he shows that cortical neuroplasticity and reorganization of neural networks in the somatosensory cortex, motor cortex, limbic and cognitive functional structures mainly account for the chronification of pain, and that these structures are also relevant targets for successful interventions in the behavioral and cognitive treatment of pain.

Eckart Altenmüller’s and Christos Ioannou’s paper (Altenmüller & Ioannou, 2016) specifies some negative sides of neuroplasticity, namely that neuroplasticity is not always beneficial but can lead to massive impairments of motor functions. Too intensive behavioral training of musicians in order to master their instruments might induce a serious condition known as musician’s dystonia and related disorders. Altenmüller and Ioannou elegantly show that in most cases such developments are consequences of training-induced maladaptive processes of plasticity in cortical and subcortical networks.

The paper by Wolfgang Miltner (2016) summarizes a number of processes that demonstrate the enormous plasticity and reorganization capacity of the human brain following brain lesion and highlights a series of behavioral and neuroscientific studies that indicate that successful intensive behavioral rehabilitation is paralleled by plastic changes of brain structures and by cortical reorganization. He shows that the amount of such plastic changes is obviously significantly determining the overall outcome of rehabilitation.

In the final review article, Klingner, Brodoehl, Volk, Guntinas-Lichius, and Witte (2016) explore the plasticity which is induced in the brain when it experiences a pronounced disturbance of the expected body responses: within the face, a lesion of the seventh nerve causes a motor paralysis with intact sensory input which is conveyed through the fifth cranial nerve. As a consequence, the intact brain orders a motor command, which is not executed, resulting in a mismatch between perceived and expected sensory information. This mismatch requires a major adaptive plasticity of the brain, which was studied in detail by this group.

Turning to the original articles, firstly Wolfgang Miltner, Heike Bauder, and Edward Taub (2016)present an example how neuroplasticity can be addressed by means of electroencephalographic measures known as Bereitschaftspotential (BP) that normally precede that execution of voluntary movements of, for example, fingers, hands, and legs. This technique was applied in a group of patients with chronic stroke who were given constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) over an intensive 2-week course of treatment. The intervention resulted in a large improvement in use of the more affected upper extremity in the laboratory and in the real-world environment. The evaluation of BP showed that the treatment produced marked changes in cortical activity that correlated with the significant rehabilitative effects. The results are consistent with the rehabilitation treatment having produced a use-dependent cortical reorganization and demonstrate where the physiological data interdigitates with and provides additional credibility to the clinical data.

Brodoehl, Klingner, Schaller, and Witte (2016) explore, in the second original article, the adaptation which the brain performs upon eye closure: with closure of the eyes the brain fundamentally alters the processing of afferent information, from a visually dominated multisensory mode to a monosensory mode. This plasticity is independent of the visual information and takes place in complete darkness, indicating that this switch of processing modes is caused by state-dependent, inherent brain plasticity. Based on these observations one can assume that the ability to cause functional reorganizations can be substantially modified by optimized conditions for such learning processes.

In their opinion piece, Otto Witte and Malgorzata Kossut (2016) emphasize the impact of inflammatory factors on brain plasticity: following a stroke or in the aging brain, the inflammatory system is activated and impairs brain plasticity. The analysis of these processes opens a window for therapeutic interventions that may be employed to enhance the efficacy of behavioral and other rehabilitative procedures.

Altenmüller, E. & Ioannou, C. I. (2016). Maladaptive plasticity induces degradation of fine motor skills in musicians: Apollo’s curse. Zeitschrigt für Psychologie, 224, 8090. doi: 10.1027/2151-2604/a000242 Link
Brodoehl, S., Klingner, C. M., Schaller, D. & Witte, O. W. (2016). Plasticity during short-term visual deprivation. Zeitscrift für Psychologie, 224, 125132. doi: 10.1027/2151-2604/a000246 Link
Johansson, B. B. (2011). Current trends in stroke rehabilitation: A review with focus on brain plasticity. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, 123, 147159. CrossRef
Kandel, E. R. (1979). Psychotherapy and the single synapse: The impact of psychiatric thought on neurobiological research. New England Journal of Medicine, 301, 10281037. CrossRef
Kandel, E. R. (2008). Psychiatrie, Psychoanalyse und die neue Biologie des Geistes [Psychiatry psychoanalysis, and the new biology of the mind]. Frankfurt/M, Germany: Suhrkamp Verlag.
Klingner, C. M., Brodoehl, S., Volk, G. F., Guntinas-Lichius, O. & Witte, O. W. (2016). Adaptive and maladaptive neural plasticity due to facial nerve palsy: What can we learn from pure deefferentation?Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 224, 102111. doi: 10.1027/2151-2604/a000244 Link
Merzenich, M. M. (2013). Soft-wired: How the new science of brain plasticity can change your life.San Francisco, CA: Parnassus Publishing.
Merzenich, M. M., Van Vleet, T. M. & Nahum, M. (2014). Brain plasticity-based therapeutics.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 385. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00385 CrossRef
Miltner, W. H. R. (2016). Plasticity and reorganization in the rehabilitation of stroke: The constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) example. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 224, 91101. doi:10.1027/2151-2604/a000243 Link
Miltner, W. H. R., Bauder, H. & Taub, E. (2016). Change in movement-related cortical potentials following constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) after stroke. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 224,112124. doi: 10.1027/2151-2604/a000245 Link
Straube, T. (2016). Effects of psychotherapy on brain activation patterns in anxiety disorders.Zeitscrift für Psychologie, 224, 6270. doi: 10.1027/2151-2604/a000240 Link
Weiss, T. (2016). Plasticity and cortical reorganization associated with pain. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 224, 7179. Abstract
Will, B., Dalrymple-Alford, J., Wolff, M. & Cassel, J.-C. (2008). The concept of brain plasticity: Paillard’s systemic analysis and emphasis on structure and function (followed by the translation of a seminal paper by Paillard on plasticity). Behavioural Brain Research, 192, 27. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2007.11.008 CrossRef
Witte, O. W. & Kossut, M. (2016). Impairment of brain plasticity by brain inflammation. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 224, 133138. doi: 10.1027/2151-2604/a000247 Link
Correspondence concerning this article shoud be addressed to:
Wolfgang H. R. Miltner
Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology
Friedrich Schiller University (FSU)
Am Steiger 3/1
07743 Jena

Tel. +49 3641 945140, Fax +49 3641 945142, E-mail

Source: Neural Plasticity in Rehabilitation and Psychotherapy: Neural Plasticity in Rehabilitation and Psychotherapy: Zeitschrift für Psychologie: Vol 224, No 2

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