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The Role of Cortical Plasticity in Recovery of Function Following Allogeneic Hand Transplantation

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Technical Report,30 Sep 2014,29 Sep 2015

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University of Missouri Columbia United States

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In Year 2, we made significant progress on data collection in our multi-day protocol. Our preliminary findings continue to indicate that 1Hand transplant recipients utilize the former cortical sensorimotor hand territory when using the affected hand. 2 They continue to exhibit strong evidence for persistent, amputation-related, cortical reorganization. These persistent changes appear to diminish with recovery of hand function, suggesting that cortical reorganization is an important target for post-transplant rehabilitation. 3 Transplant and replant recipients show increased engagement of the parieto-frontal cortical networks involved in visually-guided grasping of objects, and these patterns appear related to recovery of functional hand use. 4 Transplant and replant recipients exhibit a remarkable ability to localize touch on their affected hand in the absence of vision. This level of recovery is difficult to understand given prevailing models in neuroscience that emphasize reinnervation errors. These results are summarized below.

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