For the first time ever, a treatment option that’s become increasingly popular in Parkinson’s patients - deep-brain stimulation - is also showing promise for recovery for strokes in old age. The new form of treatment is being tested on a stroke survivor and is conducted by implanting an electrode that stimulates a particular area of the brain, the anticipated response will be a reversal of the paralysis so often encountered following a stroke, and the restoration of mobility.
In order to comprehend how a stroke restricts normal brain function, Laurie Ann Bonkoski, a speech therapist, compares a stroke to a home whose front entrance has unexpectedly become obstructed by a fallen tree. And in her studies, she’s determined to bypass that blockage and access alternative paths that can help reestablish as much functionality to the person as possible.
To work in conjunction with therapy to develop new neural pathways, Dr. Andre Machado of the Cleveland Clinic implanted the first deep-brain stimulating electrode into a stroke patient as the initial first step in this clinical human trial. The next phase will be to turn it on, delivering the electrical impulses that he hopes will stimulate brain growth. Based on the results of this trial, many other conditions are lined up for comparable tests. University Hospital neurosurgeon Jennifer Sweet shares, “People are studying the benefit of this for addiction; we know that it can be effective in obsessive compulsive disorder, it’s been used to treat Tourette’s; it may even be an option for anorexia or obesity or hypertension.”
Midnight Sun Home Care, providing personal care assistants at home in Anchorage, AK and the Mat-Su Valley area will be watching for developments in this research. In the meantime, if you have someone you care about who’s suffered strokes in old age, call us at (907) 677-7890 for in-home care assistance to enrich his or her wellbeing. We could provide support in the following ways: