Recent discoveries about how the central nervous system responds to injury and how patients reacquire lost behaviours by training have yielded promising new therapies for neurorehabilitation. Until recently, this field had been largely static, but the current melding of basic behavioural science with neuroscience promises entirely new approaches to improving behavioural, perceptual and cognitive capabilities after neurological damage. Studies of phenomena such as cortical reorganization after a lesion, central nervous system repair, and the substantial enhancement of extremity use and linguistic function by behavioural therapy, support this emerging view. The ongoing changes in rehabilitation strategies might well amount to an impending paradigm shift in this field. © 2002 Macmillan Magazines Ltd.