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Neurorehabilitation and Behavioral Neurology

Program Duration: 2–5 years

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: DTI in mouse; TMS



This is an interactive program that trains Fellows in clinical and bench-to-bedside research focused on understanding mechanisms of behavioral, cognitive and motor disability associated with stroke, traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disorders. Fellows study the mechanisms underlying learning and other plastic changes in the human central nervous system in health and disease, the function of the human reward system, and novel therapeutic approaches for recovery of cognitive and motor functions.

Instruction is given on the use of techniques in the context of investigations using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and direct current (tDCS) stimulation, structural MRI, TMS in combination with fMRI, MR spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), PET scanning, and magnetoencephalography (MEG). These techniques are learned to understand mechanisms of neuroplasticity and behavioral control and to facilitate human brain function leading to more successful neurorehabilitation and cognitive improvements. Advances in this understanding in healthy volunteers are subsequently applied to patients with neurological conditions such as stroke, dementia, neurodegenerative disorders, and traumatic brain injury (TBI).


Areas of Current Research

Neurorehabilitation of stroke, dementia and TBI
Motor learning
The role of the reward system in disorders of cognition, movement, and behavioral control
Brain-computer interfaces
Use of cortical stimulation to facilitate cognitive processes
Natural history and biomarkers of motor neuron disorders

Faculty

Leonardo G. Cohen, M.D., Chief, Human Cortical Physiology and Stroke Neurorehabilitation Section, cohenl@ninds.nih.gov

Eric M. Wassermann, M.D., Chief, Behavioral Neurology Unit, wassermanne@ninds.nih.gov