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How Electric Brain Stimulation May Help Stroke Recovery

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In the near future, light electronic stimulation to the brain may become standard rehabilitation therapy for stroke victims. In two recent studies, different forms of electronic stimulation were used to increase motor coordination in the hands of stroke patients. Read on to learn more, presented by Milwaukee Home Care Assistance.

Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford used direct electronic current, known as tDCS, in the form of electrodes attached to the scalp. The current was applied to the damaged portion of the brain. The study employed 24 stroke victims, split into a control group and the test group.

Results were measured through improvement in hand motor activity over a period of time. After three months of therapy, the test group was shown to have improved more than the control group in areas such as grip, strength and lifting.

A Harvard Medical School study also used electrodes, but in a different manner. In the Harvard study a wound wire coil was used to create a light magnetic force. Unlike the Oxford study, the magnetically charged electrodes were placed on an undamaged area of the brain.

The theory for applying the magnetic force to the undamaged area is that brain activity will decrease in that area and force damaged areas of the brain to become more active. Unlike the Oxford study, which used electronic stimulation over a matter of months, the Harvard study only provided three sessions an hour apart.

Results in hand motor activity improved as much as 50 percent in some test subjects. In the future, the researchers of the Harvard study plan to increase treatment sessions over a 10-day period.

The advantages of electronic stimulation, if successful, are numerous. The procedure is noninvasive, as the electrodes are placed on the scalp. The procedure is also painless and can be conducted while the patient is awake. The procedure may, in the end, reduce the need for supervised physical therapy, reducing the cost of post-stroke treatment.

If your aging parent or loved one is recovering from stroke or another injury or illness, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our hourly and live-in caregivers in Milwaukee provide safety monitoring, mobility support, and help with everyday tasks, promoting a safe and effective recovery in the comfort of home. Learn more by calling Milwaukee (414) 964-8000 or Waukesha (262) 782-3383 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.