Nerve Stimulation Therapy Reduces Disability

Susan Scutti wrote an article in CNN Health about an experimental nerve stimulation therapy that helped reduce disability, new research finds. A tiny electrode which actively stimulates a group of nerve cells behind the nose is the treatment.

According to the National Stroke Association, this study, which was published in May 2019, may be of assistance to the almost 800,000 Americans who experience a new or recurrent stroke each year. Because of the high reactivity of nerves to electrical stimulation, treating stroke and other neurological illnesses might benefit greatly from utilizing this as an approach. Stimulation of this particular nerve bundle appears to strengthen the blood-brain barrier, which reduces leakiness that results in post-stroke swelling. Stimulation also enhances the flow of blood to the brain, which decreases the supply of oxygen after a stroke.

Patients received the treatment, referred to as active nerve cell cluster stimulation, 24 hours after suffering an ischemic stroke.

There are only two medications for ischemic stroke that have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration: one that dissolves clots and the other that threads through arteries to remove blockages. The medication is not always effective and loses its potency minutes after a stroke, and the device needs a level of skill that is typically reserved for large hospitals. 

The researchers observed that when neurostimulation was administered at low- to mid-range intensity, the percentage of patients who had a positive outcome rose from 40% to 70%, but when high intensity was utilized, it decreased back to 40%.(SY)