Oxford University researchers have found that applying electrical current to the brain can help recovery from stroke.
Stroke patients who are undergoing rehabilitation in the affected areas, require repeated practice of a movement which involves learning and changes in the brain. In this new study by Allman and colleagues, they investigated the use of low-current brain stimulation technique, transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to "boost the effects" of motor training, specifically in patients with affected mobility of hand and arm.
Patients were given the tDCS treatment daily during a 9-day course of hand and arm training. The researchers found that the patients who received the tDCS treatment alongside their rehabilitation program, had greater improvement compared to patients who received the the sham (placebo) brain stimulation.
Furthermore, these improved scores were still present 3 months after the trial. The researchers suggest that brain stimulation, specifically tDCS, could be a supportive tool alongside rehabilitative training to improve outcome in stroke patients.
Their research is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.