New stroke recovery technique by brain stimulation - November-03-12
New research about brain stimulation, the passing of electrical currents
through the brain, was discussed at a major science conference in
Chicago this week. The new therapy may lead to improved recoveries from
A conference held in April in Chicago of cognitive neuroscientists
discussed a technique of brain stimulation, or , to give it the full
scientific name - transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). The
research team behind a series of trials were based at University College
tDCS is a form of neurostimulation which uses constant, low current
delivered directly to the brain area of interest via small electrodes.
The technique works by sending constant, low direct current through
electrodes. When these electrodes are placed close to the region of the
brain of concern, the current induces electrical flow. The flow can then
either increase or decrease the the way that brain neurones react which
leads to alteration of brain function.
What the research team behind some recent studies put forwards was the
tDCS ) can have various positive effects on the brain lasting for up to
12 months, Science News reported. In particular, non-invasive brain
stimulation had a positive effect in aiding recovery among stroke
One aspect of the new research demonstrated that tDCS treatment can aid
the recovery of language skills. The positive benefits highlighted by
the UK team also related to a different set of experiments from the
Mackenzie Presbyterian University in Sao Paolo, which showed brain
stimulation can trigger better memory retention.
To add to this, further research from the University of Oxford showed
that the technique can aid people with numeracy problems. In relation to
this, Roi Cohen Kadosh, the lead researcher said in a press release
"These experiments advance our understanding of how numerical abilities
are subserved in the typical and atypical brain, and provide a possible
means to improve numerical cognition, thus having important implications
for education, intervention, and rehabilitation."
The sum total of the research suggests several wide-ranging
applications. One key benefit of the therapy is that it is painless,
relatively inexpensive and is apparently safe.
Although such therapies are evidently in their 'early days', the methods do have potential and are worth keeping track of.
By Tim Sandle
Apr 12, 2012