The human brain must be able to adjust in response to new environments, learn new behaviors and compensate for injury or trauma. In this context, the brain changes throughout life in response to normal and abnormal experiences. There are many mechanisms that the brain uses to adapt and alter its response to stimuli (via neurons or synapses). The term “neuroplasticity” is used to describe the ability of neurons and neuron aggregates to adjust their activity and their morphology to alterations in their environment or patterns of use. Neuroplasticity encompasses diverse processes, from learning and memory in the execution of normal activities of life, to dendritic pruning and axonal sprouting in response to injury.
Neuroplasticity can be studied in humans through a variety of techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and non-invasive brain stimulation in the form of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).
The aim of the Clinical Neuroplasticity Laboratory at Georgia State University is to study brain changes in the context of motor learning in stroke survivors. We are primarily interested in motor skill learning and upper limb rehabilitation in stroke survivors. Our vision is to develop new evaluation tools and treatment methods to assist clinicians in improving the quality of life for stroke survivors.
Current Areas of Research
- Mental Imagery to Reduce Motor Deficits in Stroke
- Enhanced Motor Learning Using Brain Stimulation
- Neural Correlates of Mindfulness Mediation
- Brain Connectivity Using NIRS
- Robotic rehabilitation
- Stroke tele-rehabilitation
- Sequential Visual Isometric Pinch Task (SVIPT)
The CNL conducts scientific research and advanced technological development directed towards clinical applications of new and improved treatments, techniques, materials, and related technologies.
- Initiates, promotes and conducts applied research in the science areas of motor control, neuroimaging, neuroplasticity, and rehabilitation
- Provides a research environment for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students and faculty to conduct investigations in areas of interest to the neuroscience community within the School of Nursing and Health Professions.
- Creates transferable technologies and methodologies that have clinical applications and disseminates the results to the medical and scientific communities
- Develops new evaluation and treatment methods in upper limb stroke rehabilitation with the aim to improve clinical outcomes in this population.
- Serves as the main laboratory for brain imaging related research in the School of Nursing and Health Professions.