People with the condition commonly caused by stroke “unilateral spatial neglect” plays a key role in understanding stroke recovery.
Those who develop the condition after a stroke have a poorer recovery than those who don’t, indicating that “attention” (mental focus) may be an important component to recovery.
The condition causes people to ignore a side of their body, and in severe cases neglect one side of their physical surroundings.
Brain plasticity (the capacity for the nervous system to change) is already known to have a role in stroke recovery, Studying the brains of those with spatial neglect provide a deeper understanding on how attention affects brain plasticity.
The research found that when the participants had a greater focus on a task, a reduction in plasticity occurred.
Although more research is needed, this link will help develop more effective strategies for physical therapy after stroke.