Using a technique called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which has shown to increase brain activity and improve motor performance in humans, researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have conducted clinical trials testing its efficacy to help speed the rebuilding of the brain’s network in post stroke patients. The results seem to indicate great potential for this simple and cheap technology.
MIT Technology Review reports:
The researchers used a simple device–a nine-volt battery connected to large flat sponges that are moistened and then applied to the head–that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for delivering drugs across the skin. (The current encourages the movement of charged drug molecules across the skin.)
A week after the start of the experiment, patients given the real treatment performed much better on a number of motor tests–including tests of strength, range of movement, and practical functions such as grasping a cup–than those who received the fake treatment, improving by about 12 to 15 percent versus about 3 to 5 percent, says Schlaug [Gottfried Schlaug, MD, PhD at Beth Israel Deaconess]. He presented the research at a conference in San Francisco this week sponsored by the Organization for Human Brain Mapping.
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Image: fMRI of post stroke patient before (left) and after (right) transcranial direct current stimulation
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