Music supported therapy promotes motor plasticity in individuals with chronic stroke

P. Ripollés, N. Rojo, J. Grau-Sánchez, J. L. Amengual, E. Càmara, J. Marco-Pallarés, M. Juncadella, L. Vaquero, F. Rubio, E. Duarte, C. Garrido, E. Altenmüller, T. F. Münte, A. Rodríguez-Fornells*

*Corresponding author for this work
11 Citations (Scopus)


Novel rehabilitation interventions have improved motor recovery by induction of neural plasticity in individuals with stroke. Of these, Music-supported therapy (MST) is based on music training designed to restore motor deficits. Music training requires multimodal processing, involving the integration and co-operation of visual, motor, auditory, affective and cognitive systems. The main objective of this study was to assess, in a group of 20 individuals suffering from chronic stroke, the motor, cognitive, emotional and neuroplastic effects of MST. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) we observed a clear restitution of both activity and connectivity among auditory-motor regions of the affected hemisphere. Importantly, no differences were observed in this functional network in a healthy control group, ruling out possible confounds such as repeated imaging testing. Moreover, this increase in activity and connectivity between auditory and motor regions was accompanied by a functional improvement of the paretic hand. The present results confirm MST as a viable intervention to improve motor function in chronic stroke individuals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1289-1307
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2016


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