You could say that this latest medical breakthrough is a little shocking.
A new study suggests that running an electrical current through a stroke-patient’s brain can actually improve the recovery process. It’s not quite the same as shock therapy though, because the current would amount to a tiny fraction of what passes through an ordinary lightbulb.
The U.K. study involved 24 patients, half of whom received the electrical charge for nine days in addition to standard physical therapy. The other half received a placebo along with the standard therapy.
After three months, the patients who had undergone the electrical brain stimulation showed greater improvements than the second group.
“The improvements were significant and made quite a difference to our patients. For example, they were able to cut up a steak for the first time or peel a banana for the first time,” Dr. Charlotte Stagg, one of the co-authors of the study said.
Astoundingly, brain scans taken afterwards suggest that the electrical charge may have actually helped portions of the brain regenerate. Although Stagg admits that the study was small and that larger trials will be needed before those findings can really be confirmed.
While the only way to get this treatment right now is to be part of a clinical study, doctors in Montreal are testing a similar approach. If brain stimulation can be confirmed to accelerate stroke recovery, we imagine it will be made available to other patients in the future.
For more information on this medical breakthrough, check out the video above.