Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


More Mobility – Due to Deafferentation

Therapy for Stroke Patients Improved by Scientists of Jena University and the University Hospital Jena

Painkilling drugs that make many therapies possible are a blessing for patients. Thanks to modern anesthetics, not only can surgical operations be conducted without causing pain, they are also used for various diagnostic procedures.

In the ‘Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy’ (CIMT) the healthy arm is being restrained in a cuff, while the stroke-affected arm and hand are intensely training fine motor skills.

Photo: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU

Anesthetics can be very useful in therapies for stroke patients, as psychologists and physicians of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) and the University Hospital Jena are now able to prove.

In the ‘Journal of Neuroscience’ (DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5912-11.2012) the researchers present the results of their study, showing how a local anesthetic can distinctly improve the motor skills of patients after a stroke.

“Many stroke patients suffer from chronic impairment of the hand or of the complete arm,” Professor Dr. Thomas Weiss explains. Together with expert colleagues the psychologist of the department of Biological and Clinical Psychology at Jena University has been working for a number of years on a specialized medical training therapy which clearly enhances the mobility of stroke patients. In the ‘Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy’ (CIMT) the healthy arm is being restrained in a cuff, while the stroke-affected arm and hand are intensely training fine motor skills. Patients are asked to carry out tasks such as stacking small toy blocks or putting tiny pins into a perforated board. Daily activities like washing one’s hand are part of the training.

“Nearly every affected person benefits from this training,” Weiss‘s colleague Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Miltner says. The chair of Biological and Clinical Psychology developed the therapy together with American colleagues and refers to the comprehensive study results about the efficiency of the program. “We are happy to carry out this therapy on many patients - together with our colleagues from the psychology department in the neurological day hospital,” the director of the clinic for Neurology, Prof. Dr. Otto Witte, stresses.

In addition, the impact of the exercise therapy could be clearly enhanced when the sensitivity of the affected arm was lowered by an anesthetic, as the interdisciplinary Jena team was able to demonstrate. In their study, the scientists examined 36 patients. Half of the patients had a local anesthetic cream applied on their forearms. Meanwhile the other patient group only received a placebo. Afterwards, both patient groups went into their exercise therapy for a day.

“Unsurprisingly, the motor performance of all patients was strongly enhanced,” Prof. Weiss commented on the result. “Beyond that, it became obvious that the patients who received the anesthetic benefited even more than the placebo group,“ Weiss says. The researchers could show the reason for this effect using magnetoencephalographic imaging (MEG) of the patients. The temporary interruption of nerve impulses from the forearm leads to a decreasing activity in the brain areas processing these impulses. “At the same time neighboring brain cells are activated more strongly,” the Jena Psychologist explains. Thus the brain reacts to the missing impulses from the forearm with an increased sensitivity in the hand as the MEG images showed. Consequently the motor performance improves as well. “This process starts within minutes,” Thomas Weiss says.

A subsequent study is going to show whether the combination of local anesthetics and therapeutic exercise will improve the mobility of stroke patients in the long term.

Original Publication:
Sens E. et al.: Effects of Temporary Functional Deafferentation on the Brain, Sensation, and Behavior of Stroke Patients, Journal of Neuroscience Vol. 32 (34): 11773-11779, DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5912-11.2012

Further information about ‘Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy’ (CIMT) can be found at:

Prof. Dr. Thomas Weiss
Institute of Psychology
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Am Steiger 3 / Haus 1, D-07743 Jena
Phone: ++49 3641 / 945143
Email: weiss[at]

Dr. Ute Schönfelder | idw
Further information:

Further reports about: CIMT Mobility brain area brain cell exercise therapy movement stroke stroke patients

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht UofL scientists identify critical pathway to improve muscle repair
01.12.2015 | University of Louisville

nachricht University of California Scientists Create Malaria-Blocking Mosquitoes
30.11.2015 | University of California, Irvine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How do Landslides control the weathering of rocks?

Chemical weathering in mountains depends on the process of erosion.

Chemical weathering of rocks over geological time scales is an important control on the stability of the climate. This weathering is, in turn, highly dependent...

Im Focus: How Cells in the Developing Ear ‘Practice’ Hearing

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular chain of events that enables the cells to make “sounds” on their own, essentially “practicing” their ability to process sounds in the world around them.

The researchers, who describe their experiments in the Dec. 3 edition of the journal Cell, show how hair cells in the inner ear can be activated in the absence...

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

European Geosciences Union meeting: Media registration now open (EGU 2016 media advisory 1)

01.12.2015 | Event News

Urbanisation and migration from rural areas challenging agriculture in Eastern Europe

30.11.2015 | Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Latest News

USGS projects large loss of Alaska permafrost by 2100

01.12.2015 | Earth Sciences

New study reveals what's behind a tarantula's blue hue

01.12.2015 | Life Sciences

Climate Can Grind Mountains Faster Than They Can Be Rebuilt

01.12.2015 | Earth Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>