A new treatment approach which uses tiny bursts of electricity to reawaken paralyzed muscles “significantly” reduced disability and improved grasping in people with incomplete spinal cord injuries, beyond the effects of standard therapy, new research shows.
In a study posted online in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, Toronto researchers report that functional electrical stimulation (First-of-its-kind study shows benefits of electrical stimulation therapy for people paralyzed by spinal cord injury) therapy worked considerably better than conventional occupational therapy alone to increase patients’ ability to pick up and hold objects.
FES therapy uses low-intensity electrical pulses generated by a pocket-sized electric stimulator. Unlike permanent FES systems, the one designed by Dr. Popovic and colleagues is for short-term treatment. The therapist uses the stimulator to make muscles move in a patient’s limb. The idea is that after many repetitions, the nervous system can ‘relearn’ the motion and eventually activate the muscles on its own, without the device.
Read the full article and details from the study: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217125113.htm