The contribution of functional neuroimaging to recovery after brain damage: A review

Luigi Pizzamiglio, Gaspare Galati, Giorgia Committeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The introduction of functional neuroimaging techniques has contributed to understanding the neural correlates of recovery of motor, sensory and cognitive functions after brain damage. In this paper, we review the literature of the past twenty years, with particular emphasis on quantitative studies of cerebral blood flow and metabolism. Studies are presented that examine recovery from hemiparesis, aphasia, spatial hemineglect and sensory disorders. The contribution of this research is critically discussed in a methodological perspective. A basic distinction is made between cerebral plasticity and recovery of functions. It is also argued that the most frequently used experimental designs do not permit directly relating changes in brain activity to functional recovery. The importance of accurate behavioural measures is underlined. Alternative experimental designs are proposed, based on correlations between behavioural performance and brain activations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-31
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Aphasia
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Motor impairment
  • Neglect
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Sensory impairment
  • Single photon emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)


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