Sunday, September 18, 2011

Electric shocks help stroke patients

Stroke patients with brain damage can recover more quickly with the help of small electric currents applied to the head from electrodes on the skull, a study has found.

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......