A new therapy that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the brain may improve recovery after a stroke, according to a study published in the May 24 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The treatment, called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, improved motor function in a small group of people. For the stimulation, an insulated wire coil is placed on the scalp, and a brief electrical current is passed through the coil, creating a magnetic pulse that stimulates the outer part of the brain, called the cortex.
The study involved eight people, ages 35 to 63, who had a stroke within the last year and were relearning to use their affected hands. They were compared to six people who had never had a stroke. The stroke patients received three sessions of magnetic stimulation to the side of the brain that had not been affected by the stroke using different parameters, including sham (mock) stimulation. A sham is the application of the procedure excluding the actual treatment being studied and is intended to address the question of a placebo effect. The six healthy participants were tested with the same battery of tests to evaluate the learning effect associated with repeated testing.
Robin Thompson | EurekAlert!
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