Wearable Magnetic Stimulator Can Aid Brain Stroke Recovery

Stroke (brain stoke) can result in a variety of debilitating conditions that are caused by damaged neural connections within the brain. Researchers working at the Eddy Scurlock Stroke Center at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas have successfully developed and tested a multifocal wearable device. This device is a transcranial, rotating, permanent magnet stimulator (TRPMS) that can boost the neural activity near the injured brain areas in patients who are recovering from a stroke.

The trial involved 30 patients. Out of these, 15 were treated with TRPMS and the remaining once received a sham treatment. All had weakness on one side of the body three months after their strokes. The treated patients underwent twenty sessions over a period of a month. Each session lasted 40 minutes.

Those involved in the trial had their brains scanned via functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan before and after treatment. This enabled researchers to see the amount of neural activity. Lead study author David Chiu, M.D., issued the following statement in a press release published by American Heart Association:

“The robustness of the increase in physiological brain activity was surprising. With only 30 subjects, a statistically significant change was seen in brain activity. If confirmed in a larger multicenter trial, the results would have enormous implications. This technology would be the first proven treatment for recovery of motor function after chronic ischemic stroke.”

This stimulation is expected to improve the connectivity of the brain in positive ways to speed up reconstruction and patient rehabilitation post-stroke. The device is non-invasive and user can wear it with reasonable comfort. Hopefully, this device could be quickly adopted for clinical practice.