AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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Vagus Nerve Stimulation Shows Progress in Stroke Recovery

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Vagus nerve stimulation technology could help improve the lives of people who suffer from weakness and paralysis caused by stroke, according to a study recently published in the journal Stroke. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has been approved as a treatment for depression and epilepsy, however, this study demonstrates that experimental VNS treatment is safe for patients recovering from stroke. The study included 20 patients who experienced arm weakness due to stroke. The participants were randomly placed into two groups: one with patients who only received rehabilitation therapy, and one with patients who received rehabilitation therapy, as well as VNS experimental therapy. The therapy was six-weeks long for both groups. The group that only received rehabilitation improved by an average of three points on the Fugl-Meyer assessment scale, which measures recovery in stroke patients. The group that received rehabilitation and the VNS experimental treatment improved by an average of nine points. While specific results varied among the patients, several who received VNS reported greater motion and strength in their stroke-affected arms. To read more about this study, click here.

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