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Stroke Victims' Brains 'Rewired' to Regain Use of Arms

Stroke Victims' Brains 'Rewired' to Regain Use of Arms

(Robert Kneschke/Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 18 May 2018 03:36 PM

Stroke victims are participating in an experimental treatment that has their brains rewired in an attempt to regain the use of their arms.

The treatment entails connecting a device to the vagus nerve in the neck, which is responsible for sending signals from the body to the brain, and "rewiring" the circuits that ultimately control motor function, Fox News reported.

The Neurological Institute at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center is one of the first hospitals attempting to use the treatment, called vivistim, and is holding clinical trials.

The research comes at a time when stroke is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke and that 140,000 die each year as a direct result.

Furthermore, even stroke survivors who don't experience any immediate complications are still more likely to die or have a heart attack than people who never had a stroke, studies have suggested.

Researchers are scrambling to find preventative measures as well as treatments that would ultimately make the lives of stroke survivors easier.

The concept behind the vivistim system would be ideal but it is in the early stages of development and doctors are still looking for participants in their research.

Ohio resident Ken Meeks, who suffered a stroke following a car accident, is taking part in the trial, which he described as grueling.

"It's hard enough to get up in the morning and go through this tedious process of getting dressed and getting a cup of coffee," the 63-year-old said, according to Fox News.

Meeks said that, although he was not seeing any immediate changes, he remained hopeful.

"Neuroplasticity is a very slow process. The fact that I don't see a change right now is, I don't think, unexpected," he said.

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An experimental treatment is "rewiring" the brains of stroke victims in an attempt to help them regain the use of their arms.
stroke, victims, brains, rewire
Friday, 18 May 2018 03:36 PM
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