When recovering from a brain injury, getting back in the swing of things may be more effective than a prolonged period of rest, according to a new Columbia study in mice. These findings offer a compelling example of the brain’s remarkable capacity to adapt in response to trauma. They also point to new, activity-centered treatment strategies that could one day result in faster and more complete recovery times for patients looking to regain mobility after a brain damage or a stroke.
This research was reported today in the journal Nature.
“Lengthy rest periods are supposed to be key to the brain’s healthy recovery, but our study in mice demonstrates that re-engaging the brain immediately after injury can actually be more helpful than resting it — an observation that was completely unexpected,” said Randy Bruno, PhD, the study’s senior author and a principal investigator at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. “While these findings underscore the brain’s complexity, the nature of which we are only beginning to tease apart, they also provide a new avenue of research into more effective rehabilitation efforts for serious brain injuries.”