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Long-Term Plasticity in Reflex Excitability Induced by Five Weeks of Arm and Leg Cycling Training after Stroke

Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3P1, Canada
Human Discovery Science, International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9, Canada
Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria, BC V8P 5C2, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sheila Schindler-Ivens
Brain Sci. 2016, 6(4), 54;
Received: 7 September 2016 / Revised: 22 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Recovery after Stroke)
PDF [5740 KB, uploaded 3 November 2016]


Neural connections remain partially viable after stroke, and access to these residual connections provides a substrate for training-induced plasticity. The objective of this project was to test if reflex excitability could be modified with arm and leg (A & L) cycling training. Nineteen individuals with chronic stroke (more than six months postlesion) performed 30 min of A & L cycling training three times a week for five weeks. Changes in reflex excitability were inferred from modulation of cutaneous and stretch reflexes. A multiple baseline (three pretests) within-subject control design was used. Plasticity in reflex excitability was determined as an increase in the conditioning effect of arm cycling on soleus stretch reflex amplitude on the more affected side, by the index of modulation, and by the modulation ratio between sides for cutaneous reflexes. In general, A & L cycling training induces plasticity and modifies reflex excitability after stroke. View Full-Text
Keywords: stroke; plasticity; rehabilitation; gait; EMG; reflexes stroke; plasticity; rehabilitation; gait; EMG; reflexes

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Klarner, T.; Barss, T.S.; Sun, Y.; Kaupp, C.; Loadman, P.M.; Zehr, E.P. Long-Term Plasticity in Reflex Excitability Induced by Five Weeks of Arm and Leg Cycling Training after Stroke. Brain Sci. 2016, 6, 54.

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