On the importance of long-term functional assessment after stroke to improve translation from bench to bedside

  • Freret T
  • Schumann-Bard P
  • Boulouard M
 et al. 
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Despite extensive research efforts in the field of cerebral ischemia, numerous disappointments came from the translational step. Even if experimental studies showed a large number of promising drugs, most of them failed to be efficient in clinical trials. Based on these reports, factors that play a significant role in causing outcome differences between animal experiments and clinical trials have been identified; and latest works in the field have tried to discard them in order to improve the scope of the results. Nevertheless, efforts must be maintained, especially for long-term functional evaluations. As observed in clinical practice, animals display a large degree of spontaneous recovery after stroke. The neurological impairment, assessed by basic items, typically disappears during the firsts week following stroke in rodents. On the contrary, more demanding sensorimotor and cognitive tasks underline other deficits, which are usually long-lasting. Unfortunately, studies addressing such behavioral impairments are less abundant. Because the characterization of long-term functional recovery is critical for evaluating the efficacy of potential therapeutic agents in experimental strokes, behavioral tests that proved sensitive enough to detect long-term deficits are reported here. And since the ultimate goal of any stroke therapy is the restoration of normal function, an objective appraisal of the behavioral deficits should be done.

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