Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New stroke research combines brain stimulation, gait training

Date:
March 13, 2014
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
A researcher will test whether brain stimulation combined with gait training can improve patients' ability to walk after a stroke. People 50 or older who have had a stroke will be enrolled in the study and receive gait-training on a treadmill. The treatment group will receive transcranial direct current stimulation prior to gait training. Electrical stimulation will be administered in combination with motor training of the ankle, as a major problem for people trying to walk after stroke is an inability to flex the ankle on their affected side.

Sangeetha Madhavan and Tai Tri Nguyen demonstrate gait training, part of their study of improving rehab for people recovering from stroke.
Credit: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

A University of Illinois at Chicago researcher will test whether brain stimulation combined with gait training can improve patients' ability to walk after a stroke, under a $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Related Articles


"After a stroke, almost 60 percent of people are not able to walk independently in their community -- and there are currently six million stroke survivors in the U. S.," says Sangeetha Madhavan, assistant professor of physical therapy and director of UIC's Brain Plasticity Lab. "Even when they can walk, they are often really slow and are not fast enough to cross a road safely before the pedestrian lights change.

"Improving their ability to walk would have an enormous impact on their quality of life."

Madhavan and her coworkers study how the brain changes in response to stroke, and how to tap into the brain's potential to help in a functional recovery.

Scientists approach rehabilitation in different ways, she said, but most commonly with a kind of bottom-up approach, by training muscles and re-teaching walking, and then hoping that the brain will relearn how to control those functions.

Madhavan's approach is top-down, dynamically stimulating the brain to make it more responsive to the therapy the patient will receive.

She will use a technique called transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS, which passes a very low level of current through the motor area in the brain that controls the legs.

People 50 or older who have had a stroke will be enrolled in the study and receive gait-training on a treadmill. The treatment group will receive tDCS prior to gait training. Electrical stimulation will be administered in combination with motor training of the ankle, as a major problem for people trying to walk after stroke is an inability to flex the ankle on their affected side.

The control group will receive only the gait training, three times a week for four weeks.

Subjects will be evaluated at the end of the four weeks and again three months later. Their walking speed and other clinical and quality-of-life measures will be assessed.

In addition, the researchers will examine the physiological function of the cerebral cortex to see if brain plasticity changed after training. Madhavan said they use use noninvasive tools, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, to compare the excitability of the affected and unaffected areas of the brain.

"After stroke, there is an imbalance in cortical excitability, with areas of the brain where the lesion is being less active," Madhavan said. "We predict that activity in these areas will increase after the brain stimulation-walking intervention, and that the imbalance in symmetry is restored. This balance in cortical excitability is necessary for functional recovery."

People with stroke differ in how they respond to therapy, Madhavan said, and the transcranial magnetic stimulation technique "gives us a way to understand why one individual changes differently from another."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "New stroke research combines brain stimulation, gait training." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140313172941.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2014, March 13). New stroke research combines brain stimulation, gait training. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140313172941.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "New stroke research combines brain stimulation, gait training." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140313172941.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
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