Stroke survivors often face long-term disabilities, including difficulty using their arms and hands.
Researchers in Columbus are studying a new approach to rehabilitation to help stroke patients recover their motor skills sooner. Mike Foley reports.
Stroke rehabilitation specialists at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center are participating in a clinical trial that uses nerve stimulation to help patients recover more quickly. Patients are implanted with an electrical device that connects to a nerve in the neck. When a patient correctly performs an exercise or function during a rehab session, the device stimulates the nerve signaling the brain to remember that movement. Dr. Marcie Bockbrader says it’s akin to turning on a switch, making the patient’s brain more receptive to therapy.
“The benefits, we think, are more efficient and better response to therapies,” Dr. Bockbrader said. “We think that approximately 85 percent of the people who get this type of stimulation are likely to benefit from it.”
Ohio State is among just 13 institutions in the U.S. and five in the U.K. taking part in the clinical trial. It’s open to stroke survivors experiencing poor arm function. They must have suffered a stroke at least nine months ago and up to ten years ago. Each participant receives three one-hour sessions of therapy each week for six weeks. For more information, visit www.vnsstroketrial.com.
Ohio State has also announced several free stroke risk assessments:
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Comprehensive Stroke Center will offer free stroke risk assessments from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, along with May 16, 23 and 30 in the lobby of the Brain and Spine Hospital, 300 W. 10th Ave.
Additional stroke risk screenings will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 23 at University East Hospital’s Bistro O-H Café, 181 Taylor Ave.; and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 26 outside the Farmer’s Market at the North Market, 59 Spruce St.
Registration is not required.