Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Magnetic Treatment May Help People With Spinal Cord Injuries

Date:
May 11, 2004
Source:
Imperial College Of Science, Technology And Medicine
Summary:
A preliminary study has shown for the first time that it may be possible to help people who have suffered partial damage to their spinal cord by applying a magnetic therapy to their brain.

A preliminary study has shown for the first time that it may be possible to help people who have suffered partial damage to their spinal cord by applying a magnetic therapy to their brain.

Writing in this month's Spinal Cord, a team of UK doctors describe how patients with incomplete spinal cord injuries received repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), leading to improvements in their ability to move muscles and limbs, and ability to feel sensations.

rTMS uses an electromagnet placed on the scalp to generate brief magnetic pulses, about the strength of an MRI scan, which stimulate the part of the brain called the cerebral cortex. Incomplete spinal cord injuries are a type of spinal injury where the spinal cord has not been entirely severed, but the patient has still lost the ability to move or feel properly below the injury point.

Dr Nick Davey from Imperial College London and Charing Cross Hospital, and one of the study's authors, says: "Through rTMS we may be able to help people who have suffered partial injuries to the spinal cord recover some of their movement and feeling. We think it works by strengthening the information leaving the brain through the undamaged neurons in the spinal cord. It may work like physiotherapy but instead of repeating a physical task, the machine activates the surviving nerves to strengthen their connections."

The researchers from Imperial College London, the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, UK, and Charing Cross Hospital, UK, tested rTMS on four patients with incomplete spinal injuries. The patients had all sustained their injuries at least 18 months previously and had already received conventional rehabilitation including physiotherapy. They were all considered stable in that they were no longer undergoing natural improvement. The patients received both real and sham rTMS treatment over a three-week period. The rTMS treatment involved five consecutive days of magnetic stimulation for one hour per day.

They noticed no difference between the baseline and the sham treatment, but found that the rTMS treatment resulted in a 37.5 (+/– 8) percent drop in intracortical inhibition, compared with normal physiotherapy. Weaker intracortical inhibition makes it easier for messages from the brain to pass down the spinal cord to the rest of the body. This reduction in intracortical inhibition was accompanied by improvement in both motor and sensory function, which lasted for at least three weeks after the treatment. Reduced intracortical inhibition also occurs naturally and can facilitate functional recovery, and this is reflected in improvements to the patients' ability to move and feel.

rTMS was a treatment designed to treat psychiatric disorders, and has been used in treating some of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Dr Davey adds: "Despite this, we still need to be extremely careful in interpreting these results as we only sampled a small number of patients. Further studies on larger groups of patients will need to be carried out before we will know if this treatment is fully effective. Similarly we have no idea how long the treatment benefits will last over a longer period."

This work was supported by the International Spinal Research Trust, and Dr Davey and his team have recently received a further grant, again from the International Spinal Research Trust, to carry out further, larger trials.

###

Notes to editors:

1. Magnetic brain stimulation can improve clinical outcome in incomplete spinal cord injured patients. Spinal Cord, May 2004. 2. Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (10,000) and staff (5,000) of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture. Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College Of Science, Technology And Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Imperial College Of Science, Technology And Medicine. "Magnetic Treatment May Help People With Spinal Cord Injuries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040511042830.htm>.
Imperial College Of Science, Technology And Medicine. (2004, May 11). Magnetic Treatment May Help People With Spinal Cord Injuries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040511042830.htm
Imperial College Of Science, Technology And Medicine. "Magnetic Treatment May Help People With Spinal Cord Injuries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040511042830.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins