Stroke is one of the leading causes of long-term disability. Advanced technological solutions (“neurotechnologies”) exploiting robotic systems and electrodes that stimulate the nervous system can increase the efficacy of stroke rehabilitation. Recent studies on these approaches have shown promising results. However, a paradigm shift in the development of new approaches must be made to significantly improve the clinical outcomes of neurotechnologies compared with those of traditional therapies. An “evolutionary” change can occur only by understanding in great detail the basic mechanisms of natural stroke recovery and technology-assisted neurorehabilitation. In this review, we first describe the results achieved by existing neurotechnologies and highlight their current limitations. In parallel, we summarize the data available on the mechanisms of recovery from electrophysiological, behavioral, and anatomical studies in humans and rodent models. Finally, we propose new approaches for the effective use of neurotechnologies in stroke survivors, as well as in people with other neurological disorders.
Neuron, Volume 105, Issue 4, 19 February 2020, Pages 604-620,