Rehabilitation of cognitive impairments
Prof. Dr. Christian Grefkes
A brain lesion as a consequence of either illness or accident can cause permanent dysfunctions in the brain. In our society stroke is the most frequent cause of a permanent disability.
Every year about 250.000 initial strokes are counted. More than of a third of the surviving stroke patients have a permanent disability and depend on the help of others after such an event.
Apart from the motor deficits the patients often have relevant impairments of their cognitive functions. Primarily, disorders in communication skills, awareness of memory and planning and action performance prevent successful rehabilitation and cause - despite intensive neuro-rehabilitation care - a permanent disability.
The aim of our study group is therefore the research and development of innovative therapy procedures for application in neuro- rehabilitation. Considering the concept that our brain is capable to compensate the loss of brain regions through remodelling processes, we try to enhance the neuronal plasticity with interventions like cognitive training therapies, non-invasive brain stimulating programs and special pharmacotherapies. Here we develop conceptual hypotheses from fictional models which are based on the latest findings of neuropsychology, cognitive neurobiology and imaging neuroscience (like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or positron emission tomography (PET)). The focus of the study group lies on research of pathophysiogy and therapy of attention disorders (neglect) and planning / carrying out of actions ( apraxia).