Human Cortical Physiology and Stroke Neurorehabilitation Section - Division of Intramural Research
Leonardo G. Cohen, M.D., Senior Investigator
Dr. Cohen received his MD from the University of Buenos Aires. He did his neurology residency at Georgetown University and received postdoctoral training in clinical neurophysiology at the Department of Neurology, University of California (Irvine) and in motor control and movement disorders at the Human Motor Control Section, NINDS. In 1998 he became chief of the Human Cortical Physiology Section, NINDS. He received the prestigious Humboldt award (1999) from the Republic of Germany and is an elected member of the American Neurological Association. Dr. Cohen's lab is interested in the mechanisms underlying plastic changes in the human central nervous system and in the development of novel therapeutic approaches for recovery of function based on the understanding of these mechanisms.
, M.D., Clinical Fellow
, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
, Ph.D., Fellow
, Ph.D., Predoctoral Fellow
, MB, MRCP(UK), PhD, Clinical Postdoctoral Fellow
, Ph.D., Predoctoral Fellow
, Ph.D., Nurse Practitioner
, Ph.D., Staff Scientist
The goal of our activity is to understand the mechanisms underlying plastic changes in the human central nervous system (CNS) and to develop novel therapeutic approaches for recovery of function based on these advances. Our work has focused on the human motor system and on plastic changes taking place across sensory modalities for example in blind individuals (crossmodal plasticity). We have studied cortical reorganization in patients with CNS lesions in particular stroke and traumatic brain injury. In healthy volunteers, we studied cortical plasticity associated with deafferentation and motor skill learning.
We utilize different techniques in the context of well defined hypothesis-driven investigations including transcranial magnetic (TMS, video) and DC (tDCS) stimulation, fMRI, TMS in combination with fMRI, MR spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), PET scanning and magnetoencephalography (MEG). We are interested in the development of these techniques to help us to understand mechanisms of human plasticity and to modulate human brain processes. Our research protocols in healthy volunteers are geared to identify mechanisms of human neuroplasticity and to develop interventional approaches to enhance them when they play a beneficial role and down-regulate them when they are maladaptive. Advances in this understanding in healthy volunteers are subsequently applied to patients with neurological conditions like stroke in attempts to enhance neurorehabilitative processes. In blind individuals, we seek to understand the mechanisms underlying the remarkable compensatory processes involved in crossmodal plasticity, and to facilitate them using noninvasive techniques.
Our future goals are to improve our understanding of mechanisms underlying plasticity of function in humans. On the basis of these insights, we are engaged in translational efforts to develop rational rehabilitative interventions to improve motor disability after stroke in particular using peripheral nerve stimulation, TMS and tDCS. In patients with severe hand paralysis, we use an MEG-based brain computer interface to control grasping motions of an orthosis attached to the paralyzed hand (video).
- Neural substrates of lasting motor skill learning by spacing effect 07-N-0072
- Human Cortical Physiology Section Repository Protocol 09-N-0156
- Screening Protocol for Patients with Stroke 10-N-0012
- Interhemispheric Interactions Associated with Performance of Voluntary Movements in Patients with Stroke Motor Disability 02-N-0104
- Long-term improvement in training effects by transcranial DC stimulation 06-N-0138
- Modulation of motor function by stimulation of the central and peripheral nervous system. 07-N-0122
- Moving a paralyzed hand through a brain computer interface controlled by the affected hemisphere after stroke or traumatic brain injury 02-N-0104
- Enhancing the beneficial effects of upper extremity visuomotor training with tDCS 09-N-0021
- Neural Dynamics and Connectivity in Response Inhibition and Traumatic Brain Injury 10-N-0185
- Neuroimaging studies of motor learning in healthy volunteers and patients with brain injury T-N-1175
Selected Recent Publications
Soekadar S, Witkowsky M, Cossio EG, Birbaumer N, Robinson SE and LG Cohen
In vivo assessment of human brain oscillations during application of transcranial electric currents., Nature Communications, 2013, vol. 4, pp. 2032. Full Text/Abstract
Dayan E, Censor N, Buch ER, Sandrini M and LG Cohen
Noninvasive brain stimulation: from physiology to network dynamics and back., Nature Neuroscience, 2013, vol. 16, pp. 638-644. Full Text/Abstract
Censor N, Sagi D and LG Cohen
Common mechanisms of human perceptual and motor learning., Nature Reviews in Neuroscience, 2012, vol. 13, pp. 658-64. Full Text/Abstract
Dayan E and LG Cohen
Neuroplasticity subserving motor skill learning, Neuron, 2011, vol. 72, pp. 443-454. Full Text/Abstract
Buch ER, Shanechi AM, Fourkas AD, Weber C, Birbaumer N and LG Cohen
Parietofrontal integrity determines neural modulation associated with grasping imagery after stroke, Brain, 2011, vol. 135, pp. 596-614. Full Text/Abstract
Abe M, Schambra H, Wassermann EM, Luckenbaugh D, Schweighofer N and LG Cohen
Reward improves long-term retention of a motor memory through induction of offline memory gains., Current Biology, 2011, vol. 21, pp. 557-62. Full Text/Abstract
Censor N, Dimyan M. A. and L. G. Cohen
Primary cortical processing during memory reactivation enables modification of existing human motor memories, Current Biology, 2010, vol. 20, pp. 1545-9.
Fritsch B, Reis J, Martinowich K, Schambra HM, Ji Y, Cohen LG, Lu B.
Direct current stimulation promotes BDNF-dependent synaptic plasticity: potential implications for motor learning., Neuron, 2010, vol. 66(2), pp. 198-204. Full Text/Abstract
Selected Earlier Publications