Magnetic Stimulation of Brain Shows Promise in Stroke Survivors

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Leave it to inquisitive Harvard researchers to stimulate brains with magnets to help stroke survivors. In the August issue of Stroke, researchers repeated earlier successes with stroke surviors by magnetic stimulation of the brain on the opposite side of the patient's stroke in 15 patients. [1] Over the 2 week period, patient's abililty to use their affected hand improved. Side effects including confusion and seizures were not found to occur, using EEG (electroencephalogram) and psychological testing.

I've always discounted my in-laws' love of magnets, but now I'll have to think twice. Just how these magnets work, who knows? I'm looking forward to larger studies to see if the benefits are prolonged past 2 weeks and no side effects occur. Even if the treatment needs to be ongoing, I don't see a lot of potential ongoing side effects. I just wonder if the benefit will continue with continued treatment.

References

1. Fregni, Pascual-Leone
A Sham-Controlled Trial of a 5-Day Course of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of the Unaffected Hemisphere in Stroke Patients
Stroke 37: 2115-2122; published online before print as doi:10.1161/01.STR.0000231390.58967.6b

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About the Author


MD, FACP, FASN

Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.

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