Success with our technology in rehabilitation
At neurocare our therapists are trained in the use of neuromodulation and neurostimulation, treatment methods which have been successfully used to rehabilitate brain activity. Whilst occupational therapies, speech therapies or physiotherapies are important and necessary in the rehabilitation of motor skills and language, this process requires a lot of time and dedication to have an effective impact. Treating stroke via neurostimulation or neuromodulation is a way to support this process, the "re-training" of our brain, to improve the overall efficacy of the accompanying therapy.
Treating stroke through rehabilitation
There are two approaches when we modulate brain activity to improve recovery after a stroke. Depending on the severity of the stroke and the part of the brain it has affected, therapists will either recommend non-invasive passive treatment methods like neurostimulation (e.g. tDCS, rTMS) or non-invasive active neuromodulation treatment methods (e.g.Neurofeedback).
Neurostimulation therapies like tDCS have an external influence on brain activity. tDCS is able to modulate the brain activity to strengthen networks that have already been activated in the process of recovery (i.e. the exercises you do during physiotherapy). Generally when one area in the brain is damaged it will need time to recuperate, however sometimes this means the healthier side of the brain is too strong. In such cases tDCS can be applied to inhibit the healthier side of the brain in order to strengthen the affected area.
Neuromodulation therapies are also effective in rehabilitation and are used to internally activate a certain brain function. A therapist might apply a technique called Neurofeedback which is also a non-invasive method, like an EEG based Biofeedback. This is a treatment method where the patient would have to meet with their therapist two times a week for a period of 20 weeks (on average), and through EEG patients actively re-learn something from inside the brain. It is much like learning to ride a bike!
What is stroke?
Stroke is a cerebrovascular accident whereby oxygen supply is cut off from one or many areas in the brain, thereby impairing the function that part of the brain would have previously controlled. When someone suffers a stroke they may feel numbness or fragility in the affected body area. Depending on which area this is, this may affect speech production or comprehension, perception of surroundings, eye-sight, as well as more physically noticeableparalyses in a section of the body.
Stroke is a leading cause of adult motor disability and whilst occupational therapies are available, recovery of motor function is usually never fully complete. More than 60% of those who have survived a stroke suffer ongoing neurological problems and this impairs the sufferer's ability to complete simple daily tasks such as dressing, eating and independently looking after themselves. This can have a devastating impact on the emotional well-being of the sufferer, as well as of their loved ones.
What causes stroke?
Several factors are linked to the cause of stroke. Generally speaking a stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted, or a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. In the case of a stroke the brain is cut off from oxygen and nutrients and this causes brain cells to die. Research shows that stroke is more prevalent in those aged 55 years or more, who are overweight and generally maintain unhealthy lifestyles such as heavy alcohol intake. Stroke is also linked to genetic factors.