Skip to content

    Stroke Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Brain-Training Device May Ease Stroke Paralysis

    Preliminary study finds benefits long after attack

    continued...

    Though it's an early look at evidence supporting the therapy, one expert who was not involved with the research said the results looked promising.

    "Stroke is the largest cause of disability in the country," said Dr. Rafael Ortiz, director of neuro-endovascular surgery and stroke at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Fifty percent of stroke patients end up with severe disability, and that's out of 800,000 strokes that happen a year," he said. Better kinds of rehabilitation for stroke patients are desperately needed, he added.

    "Using therapies like this, we can offer hope to patients, even six or twelve months after their stroke," he said.

    The brain has two sides, or hemispheres. Researchers say that what seems to be happening is that the side of the brain that wasn't damaged by the stroke learns to take over many of the functions lost on the affected side.

    And the more patients are able to recruit the unaffected side, the better their progress, Prabhakaran said.

    Some, but not all, of the positive brain changes remained even a month after patients had finished therapy. Researchers think maintenance sessions may be necessary to help people keep their gains.

    Patients with mild to moderate damage seem to get the most help from the device, he added. Patients with milder impairments were able to increase their speed on a task that required them to move pegs on a board. Patients with moderate damage were able to recover movement and strength.

    The study is still in its early stages. Researchers said they won't know for sure how well it works or how useful it may be until they've tested it on more patients. Prabhakaran said he hoped to recruit 44 in total.

    Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    brain illustration stroke
    Know these 5 signs.
    brain scans
    Test your stroke smarts.
     
    woman with migraine
    Is there a link?
    brain scan
    Get the facts.
     
    brain scans
    Quiz
    woman with migraine
    Article
     
    brain scan
    Article
    headache
    Video
     
    senior man stretching pre workout
    Article
    Floor level view of therapist helping stroke patie
    Article
     
    concerned woman
    Article
    Lowering Cholesterol Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW