According to a new study conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, researchers have found compelling evidence that various problems such as depression and difficulty moving, are damages linked to ‘cables’ buried inside the brain, and plays an important role in these impairments. The cables connect cells on the brain’s surface to each other, to other cells deep in the brain and to cells in the spinal cord that link the brain to the rest of the body.
The findings published in the online edition of Neuron on March 4 provides a new framework to think about the damage caused by stroke. A more complete and accurate description of the most common anatomical damage and deficits after a stroke will help understand how the brain can adapt to recover lost functions and potentially lead to new rehabilitation strategies.
The results show that stroke is more likely to inflict the most harm in three areas of the brain, all under the cortex: the white matter; the basal ganglia, which are important in movement and reward; and the thalamus, which regulates sleep and consciousness, and plays roles in vision, hearing and touch.
The combination of deficits across many patients was not due to the extent of damage caused by the strokes but to damage of white matter ‘crossroads’, regions with fibers that have many connections.