Hope for stroke patients may lie in neurorehab treatments

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A.M. Barrett, M.D., focused on new neurorehab treatments.
A.M. Barrett, M.D., focused on new neurorehab treatments.

Five neurorehabilitation treatments for those recovering from stroke were highlighted in a December Neurology Clinical Practice report.

The examination was on constraint-induced movement therapy; constraint-induced language therapy; prism adaptation therapy; transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS); and transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS).

Constraint movement could include putting a mitt on the unaffected hand during waking hours to reinforce arm use. One example of constraint-induced language therapy is to have stroke survivors with aphasia use the left, nonparetic hand for communicative and noncommunicative gestures.

For prism adaptation therapy, participants wear prism lenses for short sessions, which help decrease spatial neglect and vision dysfunction. TMS involves a magnetic field created by an electric current circulation within a coil on the scalp depolarizing neurons. It has been used for psychiatric and neurologic disorders. TDCS is noninvasive, but effects may be “too short-lived to have effect on long-term, daily function,” the authors wrote. 

“While these have been explored primarily in stroke rehabilitation, they are potentially applicable to other neurological conditions,” said A.M. Barrett, M.D., director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research and chief of Neurorehabilitation Program Innovation at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey. 


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