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November 2009 Issue

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NIH Grant Boosts Mental 'Rehearsal' in Stroke Rehabilitation

Published November 2009

A five-year, $3.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will enable UC researchers to explore how mental “rehearsal” of physical activities can improve motor skills in stroke patients.

“This is the culmination of a decade of work by our team in this area, and will help a lot of people,” says Stephen Page, PhD, associate professor in the College of Allied Health Sciences’ rehabilitation sciences department and principal investigator for the study.

The multi-center study will be held in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic, Page says, with UC as the lead center. Page’s research lab is based at the Drake Center, a 314-bed specialized medical and rehabilitative facility in Cincinnati.

A total of 100 people will be recruited to participate—50 at each site, or about 10 annually.

Page’s previous research with stroke patients has shown that mental practice, or thinking about performing physical movements, activates the same muscles and brain regions as actual practice of the same task.
The mental practice can be done at home, Page says, under the guidance of audio and visual tapes.

The study, one of many that Page and his team are conducting in stroke recovery, is open to participants who are more than one year post-stroke.

Prospective participants should call (513) 558-2754 for more information.

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