Samuel Wojcinski

Data has shown that stroke survivors have intact brain tissue that is not utilized while pedaling. They tend to have less brain activation volume while performing a pedaling task compared to healthy individuals based on fMRI data. The question is whether this tissue is not being used because it cannot be activated by the person or is there a compensatory mechanism in play where this portion of the brain is not used? What is meant here by compensatory mechanism is that after stroke, individuals will begin to accomplish tasks with their non-paretic limb. Generally, when a healthy person pedals, torque output measured from one leg equals that from the contralateral leg when loads are equivalent.

After stroke, there is a shift in strategy that causes one leg to produce the majority of the torque output during pedaling and the paretic leg may just be “along for the ride.” The lack of use of the paretic limb may explain the decrease in brain activation seen compared to the non-paretic limb. This project aims to shed light on the mechanism by which this decrease in brain activation volume occurs. To accomplish this, healthy controls will be made to pedal like stroke survivors. Using an MRI compatible pedaling device, I will vary loads on the device as well as use a leg brace to elicit stroke-like pedaling in control subjects.


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About the Marquette Sports Rehabilitation Clinic

The Marquette Sports Rehabilitation Clinic (MSRC) is a full-service outpatient rehabilitation and sports medicine clinic that offers the expertise of licensed Physical Therapists and licensed Athletic Trainers with the convenience of an on-campus location. MSRC is a part of the College of Health Sciences' nationally ranked Department of Physical Therapy. MSRC primarily serves the Marquette community including students, staff, faculty and spouses/dependents of employees. MSRC does additionally welcome patients from the greater Milwaukee community at large.

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