Neuroplastic Changes Associated With Hybrid Exercise-Cognitive Training in Stroke Survivors With Mild Cognitive Decline: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Ting Ting Yeh, Ku Chou Chang, Jiun Jie Wang, Wei Che Lin, Ching Yi Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


Background: Exercise and cognitive training have been shown to induce neuroplastic changes and modulate cognitive function following stroke. However, it remains unclear whether hybridized exercise-cognitive training facilitates cortical activity and further influences cognitive function after stroke. Objective: The study aimed to investigate the effects of 2 hybridized exercise-cognitive trainings on neuroplastic changes and behavioral outcomes in stroke survivors with mild cognitive decline. Methods: This study was a single-blind randomized controlled trial. Stroke survivors were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: (1) sequential exercise-cognitive training (SEQ), (2) dual-task exercise-cognitive training (DUAL), or (3) control group (CON). All groups underwent training 60 min per day, 3 days per week, for a total of 12 weeks. The primary outcome was the resting-state (RS) functional connectivity (FC) in functional magnetic resonance imaging. Secondary behavioral outcomes included cognitive and physical functions. Results: After 12 weeks of training, patients in the SEQ group (n = 21) exhibited increased RS FC between the left occipital lobe and posterior cingulate gyrus with right parietal lobe, compared to the DUAL (n = 22) and CON (n = 20) groups. Additionally, patients in the DUAL group showed increased FC of the left temporal lobe. However, changes in behavioral outcome measures were non-significant among the 3 groups (all P’s >.05). Conclusions: This study highlights the distinct neuroplastic mechanisms associated with 2 types of exercise-cognitive hybridized trainings. The pre-post functional magnetic resonance imaging measurements illustrated the time course of neural mechanisms for cognitive recovery in stroke survivors following different exercise-cognitive training approaches. Trial registration. NCT03230253.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-673
Number of pages12
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number9
StatePublished - 09 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • cognitive decline
  • dual-task exercise-cognitive training
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • resting-state functional connectivity
  • sequential exercise-cognitive training
  • stroke


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