Vagus Nerve Stimulation ‘Boosts Effects Of Stroke Rehab’

Many people who suffer from a stroke are left with reduced mobility and require Home physio in South West London, or wherever they live, to help them on their road to recovery.

A new study carried out at the MGH Institute of Health Professionals has been exploring the use of vagus nerve stimulation alongside traditional physical therapy and it has revealed very encouraging results.

Health Europa reported that the patients who received vagus nerve stimulation during their physical or occupational therapy improved their arm or hand function by two to three times compared to those who received intense rehabilitation without the nerve stimulation.

For the study, 108 patients who were between nine months and ten years post their stroke, were implanted with a vagus nerve stimulation system. It works by delivering a pulse to the nerve during rehabilitation exercises, and in doing so helps the brain to relearn physical tasks such as carrying a shopping bag or using a fork.

Dr Teresa Kimberley, senior author on the study, told the news provider that the nerve stimulation along with repetitions of therapeutic movements “appears to help ‘rewire’ the brain to strengthen the brain pathways needed to perform the everyday tasks people want to be able to do”.

As the BBC recently reported, although strokes typically occur in older people, they can affect people of any age. The symptoms of a stroke can manifest differently in younger patients too, so it’s important to be aware of symptoms beyond the ones that are most common.

These include a sudden loss of vision, sudden memory loss or confusion, sudden dizziness or unsteadiness and sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body.