The relationship between the cortico-reticulospinal tract and motor function in stroke survivors

Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability in Canada that causes movement impairments on one side of the body. In cases of severe movement impairment, there is often extensive damage to the primary descending motor pathway in the brain originating from the opposite side of the body. When this pathway is damaged, secondary motor pathways are altered which may support recovery in these individuals. Several of these secondary motor pathways originate from the same side of the brain as the impaired limb and are therefore undamaged in cases of stroke. My research aims to comprehensively investigate the role of the secondary motor pathways in motor function with chronic stroke survivors that have severe movement impairments. This research will use a combination of state-of-the-art brain stimulation and brain imaging techniques to gain novel insight into the relationship between the secondary motor pathways and the control of voluntary movement. My research will provide valuable insight into the role of the alternative motor pathways. In turn this information can be used in clinical practice to implement rehabilitation strategies that lead to better recovery and improved quality of life in individuals with severe strokes.