Brain stimulation therapy may help stroke victims - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Brain stimulation therapy may help stroke victims

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is testing a new method of treating strokes that could allow more patients to get their mobility back.

Research subject Darryl Holmes suffered a stroke in 2009.

"I was in my office downtown and I was about to take notes for a meeting, dropped my pen, couldn't pick it up. Tried to get up from my desk, fell down to my knee," Holmes said. He lost mobility in his left arm and hand.

Holmes is now part of a trial testing whether brain stimulation can improve mobility in stroke victims. RIC Research scientist Lynn Rogers demonstrated how she can make Holmes’ hand move with the machine.

"That thumping and tapping is the delivery of that electrical current into his brain which activates those neurons that make connections to particular areas," Rogers said.

Dr. Richard Harvey brought the technology to the RIC and began a six-week pilot study with 30 people. Some only did therapy, while others received 18 brain stimulation treatments and occupational therapy. The patients who got brain stimulation had a "more long-lasting, meaningful improvement."

“In fact we had 30 percent more in that group achieving meaningful improvement than the group that got therapy alone," Dr. Harvey said.

For Darryl Holmes, the new technology gave him control of his body once again.

“I have not reached a plateau yet. Every day I attempt to things I had not been able to do as a result of the stroke," Holmes added.

The study has now spread to 12 institutions across the country. Doctors and researchers hope in two years to be able to prove whether or not this device could be used by the public to improve function after a stroke.

For more information about the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, visit their website.

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