Carey et al (2019) Finding the intersection of neuroplasticity, stroke recovery, and learning: Scope and contributions to stroke rehabilitation. Neural Plasticity, Article ID 5232374, https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/5232374
Aim. Neural plastic changes are experience and learning dependent, yet exploiting this knowledge to enhance clinical outcomes after stroke is in its infancy. Our aim was to search the available evidence for the core concepts of neuroplasticity, stroke recovery, and learning; identify links between these concepts; and identify and review the themes that best characterise the intersection of these three concepts. Methods. We developed a novel approach to identify the common research topics among the three areas: neuroplasticity, stroke recovery, and learning. A concept map was created a priori, and separate searches were conducted for each concept. The methodology involved three main phases: data collection and filtering, development of a clinical vocabulary, and the development of an automatic clinical text processing engine to aid the process and identify the unique and common topics. The common themes from the intersection of the three concepts were identified. These were then reviewed, with particular reference to the top 30 articles identified as intersecting these concepts. Results. The search of the three concepts separately yielded 405,636 publications. Publications were filtered to include only human studies, generating 263,751 publications related to the concepts of neuroplasticity (n=6,498), stroke recovery (n=79.060), and learning (n=178,193). A cluster concept map (network graph) was generated from the results; indicating the concept nodes, strength of link between nodes, and the intersection between all three concepts. We identified 23 common themes (topics) and the top 30 articles that best represent the intersecting themes. A time-linked pattern emerged. Discussion and Conclusions. Our novel approach developed for this review allowed the identification of the common themes/topics that intersect the concepts of neuroplasticity, stroke recovery, and learning. These may be synthesised to advance a neuroscience-informed approach to stroke rehabilitation. We also identified gaps in available literature using this approach. These may help guide future targeted research.