transcranial magnetic stimulation isn’t new. but it is not approved by health canada for use as a medical device to treat stroke patients.
dr. jodi edwards of the university of ottawa heart institute would like to see the therapy overcome hurdles to get it into more widespread use, if the results of ongoing trials are positive.
edwards, who is a scientist and director of the brain and heart nexus research program at the heart institute, is the principal author of new recommendations and a checklist to improve stroke research using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, such as the feasibility study conducted at bruyère.
new treatments to improve the recovery of stroke patients are needed more than ever, she said.
dramatic advances in acute care mean people who would likely have died previously can be saved. but that leaves more people with disabilities related to those strokes, and rehabilitation is both slow and having trouble keeping up with the increasing demand for these programs.
the technology works by preparing the brain for rehabilitation and therapy, which helps them get the most out of it, optimizing their rehab sessions.
“rehab is excellent, but to make the changes in the brain you would have to do thousands of repetitions a day,” edwards said. the non-invasive brain stimulation, she added, prepares the brain to get the most out of rehabilitation.