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Enhancing Recovery after Stroke with Noradrenergic Pharmacotherapy: A New Frontier?

  • David J. Gladstone (a1) and Sandra E. Black (a1)

Abstract:

Despite much progress in stroke prevention and acute intervention, recovery and rehabilitation have traditionally received relatively little scientific attention. There is now increasing interest in the development of stroke recovery drugs and innovative rehabilitation techniques to promote functional recovery after completed stroke. Experimental work over the past two decades indicates that pharmacologic intervention to enhance recovery may be possible in the subacute stage, days to weeks poststroke, after irreversible injury has occurred. This paper discusses the concept of “rehabilitation pharmacology” and reviews the growing literature from animal studies and pilot clinical trials on noradrenergic pharmacotherapy, a new experimental strategy in stroke rehabilitation. Amphetamine, a monoamine agonist that increases brain norepinephrine levels, is the most extensively studied drug shown to promote recovery of function in animal models of focal brain injury. Further research is needed to investigate the mechanisms and clinical efficacy of amphetamine and other novel therapeutic interventions on the recovery process.

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Corresponding author

Cognitive Neurology Unit, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Room A421, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4N 3M5

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Enhancing Recovery after Stroke with Noradrenergic Pharmacotherapy: A New Frontier?

  • David J. Gladstone (a1) and Sandra E. Black (a1)

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