7. Cleveland Clinic treating stroke patients with brain stimulation
The Cleveland Clinic is pioneering deep brain stimulation for stroke recovery, with an ongoing clinical trial to determine if Boston Scientific’s Vercise DBS system improves movement in recovering stroke patients.
Dr. Andre Machado and his team performed the six-hour deep brain stimulation surgery on Dec. 19, 2016. The procedure implanted electrodes into the cerebellum section of the brain. The deep brain stimulation electrodes emit small electric pulses while connected to a pacemaker device and help people recover motor control.
“If this research succeeds, it is a new hope for patients that have suffered a stroke and have remained paralyzed after a stroke. It is an opportunity to allow our patients to rehabilitate and gain function and therefore gain independence,” said Machado in a press release. “Our knowledge to date shows that deep brain stimulation can help the brain reorganize, can help the brain adapt, beyond what physical therapy alone can do. The goal of our study is to boost rehabilitation outcomes beyond what physical therapy alone could achieve.”
Post-surgery, patients return home to recover. Upon recovery, they begin physical therapy. The deep brain stimulation is turned on after a few weeks of rehabilitation while the patient continues physical therapy. The patient can be monitored and evaluated regularly to see how deep brain stimulation is boosting the effects of physical therapy.