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  • First-Ever Tests of Deep Brain Stimulation on Humans Poststroke Ready to Begin

    Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic are ready to begin human testing on the use of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for individuals poststroke, in hopes that the technology will help to "jump start" damaged areas of the brain and aid in physical rehabilitation.

    According to an article in TIME magazine, the clinic has been federally approved to begin a human trial of a DBS technique that previously has been tested only on rats. The procedure involves sending electrical pulses from a power source implanted in the subject's chest to electrodes implanted in the brain, a technology that has been successfully used for some time on individuals with Parkinson disease (PD).

    But the intent of using DBS poststroke is not the same as its use for PD, according to Andre Machado, who heads up the project.

    "The big difference is that when we are treating the motor symptoms of [PD], we’re trying to make the symptom, like a tremor, go away," Machado told TIME. "When we are treating stroke, we are really trying to make movement come back. There is something inherently different about that."

    Animal testing revealed that DBS "appears to promote the growth of new neurons in the brain," according to a 2015 article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), though Machado told WSJ that researchers have no expectation that the procedure will cure stroke. Instead, he said, "the expectation is that by applying stimulation, [DBS] will augment or boost the effects of physical rehabilitation."

    "The goal of this therapy is not to replace physical training, but rather to boost the effects," Machado told TIME.

    The human study is set to begin as soon as researchers identify a subject poststroke who is severely disabled and "has exhausted all other options without improvement," according to the TIME article. The focus of the initial work will be on individuals who have suffered an ischemic stroke.


    • How do I get involved . Can I help I research.

      Posted by Megan on 7/12/2016 4:11 AM

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