Study Finds Nerve Stimulation Is A Safe Treatment For Stroke Patients

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death as it kills approx. 140,000 Americans annually and is the top cause for disability. A stroke’s symptoms range from loss of balance, dizziness, loss of perception to numbness or weakness in one side of the body and loss of speech skills. There are two kinds of stroke – ischemic and hemorrhagic. The former is way more common than the latter.

Not treated in the right way or being a severe brain attack makes a stroke patient experience disability. Now a new study shows that a new type of therapy which involves electrical stimulation can be helpful in the safe treatment of this deadly ailment.

What Does This Study Reveal?

A new research shows that electrical stimulation within 24 hours of having a stroke can help people recover better after having a common type of stroke. Stroke-related complications include cognitive and physical disabilities as well as a decline in motor and sensory skills.

Now a new type of treatment has been found to be helpful in reducing the effects of the ailment. This therapy involves a small device that is placed at the roof of the mouth. The implanted device electrically stimulates the nerves behind the nose.

When this therapy is carried out within 24 hours of experiencing a stroke, the degree of disability is reduced in patients who have had ischemic stroke which happens to be the most common type of the condition. This new study has been published in The Lancet.

Called the active nerve cell cluster stimulation, this therapy can be a safe and effective way for those patients who are not eligible for taking the typical clot-busting medications assigned. Researchers from UCLA and Northern University analyzed 1000 patients who had had an acute cortical ischemic stroke.

These participants were divided into two groups – the first group went through this stimulation therapy while the second one received a placebo therapy. The first group received this treatment for four hours each day for five days in a row.

In a subgroup with 520 patients who had suffered major injury to the brain, more than half of the people who got the nerve stimulation therapy saw an improvement in their condition in comparison to 40% of those who didn’t get this treatment. This therapy is administered 8 or 34 hours following the stroke.

Combining the results of this study with other previous ones, it can be concluded that this stroke treatment is safe as well as efficient. A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is hampered typically due to a clot. To avoid the death of brain cells and further complications, patients are treated with clot busting medications or surgery immediately.

However, both options are not suitable in all cases. While surgery cannot be adequately and properly conducted by all health centers, medications don’t work for many due to various reasons. In such cases this nerve stimulation therapy can prove to be very helpful.