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MU researchers shed light on how stroke victims learn to use their hands again

Some studies being done at the University of Missouri may shed some light on how stroke victims learn to regain control of an impaired hand, or even learn how to use their opposite hand. 

University of Missouri researchers are starting to uncover details on how the brain adapts to the loss or impairment of an individual's dominant hand. Dr. Scott Frey  is leading a team in studying how individuals who have had their dominant right hand amputated compensate with the use of their non-dominant left hand.

"Our group of individuals who had lost their right dominant hand more than 20 years ago were performing as accurately and as quickly as right –handed individuals of similar age and similar gender," Jacob Jones.

The research could help stroke victims who have lost mobility in their dominant hand learn how to use their other hand.

In the second stage of research, subjects underwent MRI scans in order to see what parts of the brain were activated when their left hand was stimulated with small puffs of air. Frey said the tests show both sides of the brain experienced activity during the experiment, leading to the conclusion that parts of the brain once dedicated to controlling the right hand had adapted to help control the left, non-dominant hand. 

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