Nerve Stimulation Can Help Patients Regain Movement in Paralyzed Hands

spinal injury

According to the results of a new study that was published recently in the journal Current Biology, brain nerve stimulation can possibly encourage hand movements in persons who have suffered paralysis of the hand as a result of a spinal injury.

According to the results of a new study that was published recently in the journal Current Biology, brain nerve stimulation can possibly encourage hand movements in persons who have suffered paralysis of the hand as a result of a spinal injury.

These are preliminary findings from the study which involved 19 people.  The persons in the study had suffered spinal cord injuries that had left them with an impaired ability to use their hands and arms.  These people had limited sensation in their hands and arms.

The researchers paired 2 types of noninvasive nerve stimulation to study the effects in such patients.   The first stimulation was electric stimulation targeted at the ulnar nerve in the wrist.  The 2nd stimulation was a transcranial magnetic stimulation.  In this kind of simulation, an electromagnetic coil was placed near the scalp, creating electric currents that targeted cells in the brain that are connected to hand function.

The researchers found that there was temporary improvement in hand function after the treatment.  Persons who received the electric stimulation saw greater muscle strength, and were also able to grasp and move small pegs with their hands.  However, the effects were temporary, and lasted for about 80 minutes.

Spinal injury lawyers understand that it’s too early to get over excited about the findings of this study.  The study sample was really small and consisted only of about 19 people. The kind of improvement seen was also temporary in nature.  However, the researchers believe that this is a step forward in understanding therapies that can help people who have suffered a spinal cord injury regain the use of their arms and hands.  They believe that using portable devices at home that can assist nerve simulation in this manner could help people see longer improvements in hand function over time.

 

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