Brain Implant Shows Promise for Stroke Victims

Electrical stimulations helps organ rewire itself
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2007 7:19 AM CDT
Brain Implant Shows Promise for Stroke Victims
Ruben Gur, a neurologist at the University of Pennsylvania, says new kinds of brain scanners, called a functional MRI, could be used in criminal interrogations.   (KRT Photos)

Stroke patients have shown lasting, "extremely promising" results, even years after suffering a brain hemorrhage, from an experimental therapy that electrically stimulates the brain. The currents help the organ rewire itself to take over for stroke-damaged sections, Newsweek reports, and study participants have improved significantly beyond what they could achieve through conventional physical therapy.

Researchers implanted an electrode in the thin membrane that covers the brain, just over the spot MRIs determined was trying to control stroke-paralyzed parts of a patient's body, and activated it during 6 weeks of intense physical therapy. Earlier attempts at using electrical impulses to help the brain rewire itself post-stroke relied heavily on guesswork in placing the electrodes. (More neuroscience stories.)

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