Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early success in new treatment for stroke recovery

Date:
October 1, 2013
Source:
University of Texas, Dallas
Summary:
Researchers tested using vagus nerve stimulation as a possible technique to improve stroke recovery. The study showed that pairing vagus nerve stimulation with physical rehabilitation returned all the rats in the trial group to pre-stroke levels – double the effectiveness of rehabilitation alone.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas have taken a step toward developing a new treatment to aid the recovery of limb function after strokes.

Related Articles


In a study published online in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, researchers report the full recovery of forelimb strength in animals receiving vagus nerve stimulation.

"Stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide," said Dr. Navid Khodaparast, a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and lead author of the study. "Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. Our results mark a major step in the development of a possible treatment."

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an FDA-approved method for treating various illnesses, such as depression and epilepsy. It involves sending a mild electric pulse through the vagus nerve, which relays information about the state of the body to the brain.

Khodaparast and his colleagues used vagus nerve stimulation precisely timed to coincide with rehabilitative movements in rats. Each of the animals had previously experienced a stroke that impaired their ability to pull a handle.

Stimulation of the vagus nerve causes the release of chemicals in the brain known to enhance learning and memory called neurotransmitters, specifically acetylcholine and norepinephrine. Pairing this stimulation with rehabilitative training allowed Khodaparast and colleagues to improve recovery.

Many rehabilitative interventions try to enhance neuroplasticity (the brain's ability to change) in conjunction with physical rehabilitation to drive the recovery of lost functions, according to Khodaparast. Unfortunately, up to 70 percent of stroke patients still display long-term impairment in arm function after traditional rehabilitation.

"For years, the majority of stroke patients have received treatment with various drugs and/or physical rehabilitation," Khodaparast said. "Medications can have widespread effects in the brain and the effects can last for long periods of time. In some cases the side effects outweigh the benefits. Through the use of VNS, we are able to use the brain's natural way of changing its neural circuitry and provide specific and long lasting effects."

"Through the use of VNS, we are able to use the brain's natural way of changing its neural circuitry and provide specific and long lasting effects."

Khodaparast acknowledged the study has some limitations. For example, the animals were young and lacked some of the other illnesses that accompany an aged human population, such as diabetes or hypertension. But Khodaparast and his colleagues said they are optimistic about vagus nerve stimulation as a future tool. They will continue testing in chronically impaired animals with the hopes of translating the technique for stroke patients. Working with MicroTransponder Inc., a partner company in the current study, researchers at the University of Glasgow in Scotland have begun a small-scale trial in humans.

"There is strong evidence that VNS can be used safely in stroke patients because of its extensive use in the treatment of other neurological conditions," said Dr. Michael Kilgard, professor in neuroscience at UT Dallas and senior author of the study.

Kilgard is also conducting clinical trials using vagus nerve stimulation to treat tinnitus, the medical condition of unexplained ringing in the ears. Kilgard's lab first demonstrated the ability of vagus nerve stimulation to enhance brain adaptability in a 2011 Nature paper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas, Dallas. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. Khodaparast, S.A. Hays, A.M. Sloan, D.R. Hulsey, A. Ruiz, M. Pantoja, R.L. Rennaker, M.P. Kilgard. Vagus nerve stimulation during rehabilitative training improves forelimb strength following ischemic stroke. Neurobiology of Disease, 2013; 60: 80 DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2013.08.002

Cite This Page:

University of Texas, Dallas. "Early success in new treatment for stroke recovery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131001104534.htm>.
University of Texas, Dallas. (2013, October 1). Early success in new treatment for stroke recovery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131001104534.htm
University of Texas, Dallas. "Early success in new treatment for stroke recovery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131001104534.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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