Monday, September 26, 2011
The Effect of Music and Audiobook Listening on People Recovering From Stroke The Patient’s Point of View
Posted by iRDMuni at 6:30 PM
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Published: September 22, 2011
Posted by iRDMuni at 3:14 PM
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Researchers from the University of Oxford have studied the changing structure of the brain in stroke patients and in healthy adults.
Prof Heidi Johansen-Berg presented their findings at the British Science Festival in Bradford.
The team at Oxford has been conducting research into how the structure of the brain changes in adulthood, and in particular what changes occur after a stroke.
They have used an approach called functional MRI to monitor activity in the brain as stroke patients re-learn motor skills that were lost as a result of their illness.
One of the major findings is that the brain is very flexible and can restructure itself, growing new connections and reassigning tasks to different areas, when damage occurs or a specific task is practised.
As part of this research, they investigated the possibility of using non-invasive electric brain stimulation to improve the recovery of these motor skills; the short-term improvement in stroke patients had already been noted.
But an unexpected result was found when the same brain stimulation was applied to healthy adults: their speed of learning was also significantly increased.
Increasing activity To observe this effect, the team devised an experiment whereby volunteers memorised a sequence of buttons to press "like playing a tune on a piano".
While they were doing this, they were fitted with a "trans-cranial current stimulation" device, in which two electrodes are placed in a specific position on the head.
A very small current was passed between the electrodes in an arc through the brain and, depending on the direction of that current, either increased or decreased the activity of that part of the brain.
Prof Johansen-Berg explained that "an increase in activity of the brain cells makes them more susceptible to the kinds of changes that occur during learning".
The results of the button-pressing experiments showed the positive effects of just 10 minutes of the brain stimulation on learning, compared to a similar "placebo" setup in which the electrical stimulation was not used.
"While the stimulation didn't improve the participant's best performance, the speed at which they reached their best was significantly increased," said Prof Johansen-Berg.
Targeting the area of the brain that controls motor skills allows movement tasks to be learned more quickly, and the researchers envisage the technique could be used to help in the training of athletes.
The experiments have explicitly shown that stimulating the motor cortex of the brain can increase the speed of learning motor skills.
It is the hope of the researchers that the same method may be applied to other parts of the brain to improve educational learning, simply by positioning the electrodes in different locations so the current is focussed on the correct area.
The relative simplicity, low price (around £2,000 per unit), and portability of the technology may mean that, following further research, a device could be designed to be automated for use at home.
Looking to the future, Prof Johansen-Berg and her team plan to investigate the potential for increasing the effect, by stimulating daily over a period of weeks to months.
In the treatment of stroke patients, the technique could be used in parallel with current physiotherapy treatments to improve overall outcomes, which tend to vary widely.
Posted by iRDMuni at 7:06 PM
Sunday, September 18, 2011
The tiny electric currents are believed to stimulate the re-growth of nerve connections in the brain that have been lost as a result of oxygen starvation caused by stroke, scientists said. The research supports the idea that the brain can to some extent repair itself by rewiring and reconnecting itself to bypass damaged areas, according to Professor Heidi Johansen-Berg of Oxford University.
"After a stroke, there is widespread damage to connecting fibres, far beyond the stroke itself. But with repeated practice, patients can increase activity in brain areas that have been disconnected," she told the British Science Festival...... http://bit.ly/quvrTv
Posted by iRDMuni at 5:16 PM
Sunday, April 17, 2011
"She gives everyone hope," says Sandy Strang, the owner of Curves in Fort Mill.
That's because Canzoneri suffered a stroke eight years ago. The stroke impacted Canzoneri's right side, took away her ability to use her right hand and slurred her speech. Doctors offered the then six-week pregnant Canzoneri a grim report.
"They told her she wouldn't walk again," Strang said.
Canzoneri, whose Charlotte home is about four miles from Tega Cay, refuses to be a victim to her stroke.
"You've got to fight," Canzoneri, 39, said. "You don't fight, your body is done. You hurt yourself."
Canzoneri fights back by working out most weekdays. Most people work out to tone their muscles or lose weight. For Canzoneri, daily trips to Curves help continue rehabilitation and gain overall muscle strength.more read...
Posted by iRDMuni at 6:35 PM
"Stroke rehabilitation is rapidly evolving," said Lead Researcher Dr. Gustavo Saposnik, director of the Stroke Outcomes Research Unit at St. Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto. "Novel approaches -- including the use of virtual reality [gaming] systems -- may help improve motor impairment, activities and social participation. Virtual reality may provide an affordable, enjoyable and effective alternative to intensify treatment and promote motor recovery after stroke."
Conventional therapy provides only "modest and sometimes delayed effects" in treating the weakness, paralysis, balance and coordination difficulties that most stroke victims experience, according to Saposnik.
Video gaming is custom-tailored to help remodel the brain through challenging, task-specific, motivating actions that are repeated enough to create the new neural connections needed to get back functionality after a brain injury.
"Our study confirms the potential benefit of virtual reality in stroke rehabilitation identified in small studies," Saposnik said. "Further larger randomized trials are needed before changing practice. However, we are [going] in the right direction." more read...
Posted by iRDMuni at 6:26 PM
Virtual Reality Tools May Aid Stroke Recovery
WebMD Health News
Pooling data from five studies, researchers found that people who participated in rehabilitation with virtual reality technologies after a stroke had a nearly fivefold greater chance of improving their motor strength compared to those who received conventional physical therapy.
In general, the virtual therapies are designed specifically to aid stroke recovery. They include activities like playing virtual piano keys while wearing a robotic glove or swatting at virtual bugs while wearing 3D goggles.
“This technology gets people to work more and harder and be more creative,” says study researcher Mindy Levin, PhD, a professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University in Montreal. “And all of that taps into the brain’s plasticity and helps the brain change -- and that’s what we’re trying to do.” more read....
Posted by iRDMuni at 6:23 PM
Advice On Stroke: Every Minute Courts
The HandTutor system employs virtual functional tasks.
These are computer generated tasks or games that have been formulated to allow the therapist to customize which joint or combination of joint and which movement parameter will be exercised during the practice.
In other words virtual functional tasks can be customized according to the patients movement ability.
Therefore patients with very limited or no active movement ability can, through active assisted exercises, undertake intensive and massed movement practice. Similarly if the patient has better movement ability but still needs to work on pushing this ability to its limit the virtual tasks can be customized so that the patient needs to employ for example his maximum range of moveme MORE READ....
Posted by iRDMuni at 5:34 PM
Saturday, March 5, 2011
A new study in The Lancet suggests that real-time chat therapy with a psychotherapist is successful in helping people with depression.
Participants were randomly assigned to either receive online cognitive behavioral therapy in addition to usual physician care -- which may include antidepressant medication -- or to continue their usual care and be placed on a waiting list. The intervention consisted of up to 10 55-minute sessions, five of which were expected to be completed by the four-month follow-up.
Of the 113 people who did online therapy, 38 percent recovered from depression after four months, compared with 24 percent of people in the control group. The benefits were maintained at eight months, with 42 percent of the online therapy group and 26 percent of the control group having recovered.Read More...
Posted by iRDMuni at 5:09 PM