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Electrical stimulation, the future of stroke treatment?

Electrical stimulation, the future of stroke treatment?

Suffer a ictus it involves, in at least 33% of affected individuals, some long-term sequel from which they never recover.

These sequelae can depend on a multitude of factors, such as the affected brain area, the extent of the injury, the type of injury (heart attack or hemorrhage), and the speed with which the stroke stops and the blood supply to the area returns.

On the other hand, we have the role of subsequent rehabilitation, as there may be motor sequelae (paralysis of some body area) that end up recovering totally or almost totally, provided that adequate rehabilitation is carried out. But what if we could accelerate or improve such rehabilitation? That's what researchers at the Oxford University and they have presented their alternative: Brain electrical stimulation.

Using transcranial electrical stimulation to treat a stroke


The technique used, whose full name istranscranial direct current stimulation, would seek to use electrical stimulation by means of electrodes placed on the surface of the scalp (at a low current) and in a particular area with the aim of potential rehabilitation after having suffered a stroke.

In the case of the experiment a type of electric current called ipsilesional andica tDCSWhich, in short, means that they used a positive electric current on a certain side of the brain. This type of current has previously been used in healthy individuals to potentially learn motor skills, so it is plausible to think that it can have effects in people affected by a stroke.

Electrical stimulation against stroke, a small experiment with great results

The study barely included 24 volunteers who had suffered a stroke and they had been affected in his hand or arm. They were divided into two groups to carry out rehabilitation of these affected areas, with the difference that one of the groups received electrical stimulation of the brain using the tDCS technique during that 9-day training. The other group was control (they had the electrodes on, but they didn't work).

Before carrying out the training, and for the following three months, the possible improvement of the patients was repeatedly evaluated.

Results? Those individuals who had received electrical stimulation using tDCS had significantly improved Regarding the control group, at the clinical level (they could move their hands and arms better) and also by neuroimaging analysis with magnetic resonance imaging, since those who had received electrical stimulation stood out for presenting greater brain activity in the essential areas of body movement.

Electrical stimulation as rehabilitation after a stroke: A promising future

The conclusion of this group of researchers is that the use of tDCS-type electrical brain stimulation can help significantly to those affected by a stroke or stroke, at least in the short term.

And we emphasize that in the short term, because at the moment there have not been enough studies to indicate that this type of technique is safe and does not entail side effects. For the research, there were benefits in the daily activities of the patients, but the study only included 24 people and lasted 3 months. Evidently more people are needed, and much more time of follow up.