Could non-invasive brain stimulation cut stroke recovery time?

Could non-invasive brain stimulation cut stroke recovery time?

Non-invasive brain stimulation may hold the key to reducing the amount of time it takes stroke patients to recover some of their speech, memory and numerical abilities.

Researchers at the University of Oxford claim that, through techniques such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), the period in which those who have experienced stroke recover their faculties can be shortened significantly.

Roi Cohen Kadosh, researcher on the study, commented: "Non-invasive brain stimulation can allow painless, inexpensive, and apparently safe methods for cognitive improvement with potential for long term efficacy."

TDCS uses weak electrical current applied to the head via electrodes for a short period of time to alter spontaneous neural activity.

The effects of tDCS can last for up to 12 months and changes the molecular and cellular activity that controls learning and memory.

Currently, stroke patients rely on speech therapy to help their recovery but the process can be frustratingly slow.

A previous study suggested that people who receive medication in addition to speech therapy sessions have better outcomes, but researchers have as yet been unable to find a way to accelerate the process.

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