Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brain Stimulation Reduces Post-Stroke Neglect

Post-stroke hemispatial neglect improved significantly after a two-week course of magnetic stimulation of the affected brain area, according to results of a small clinical trial. The degree of neglect improved by 16% after two weeks and by 23% after one month, as assessed by a standardized behavioral inattention test (BIT). In contrast, patients treated with sham stimulation had no improvement in hemispatial neglect, Giacomo Koch, MD, PhD, of the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome, and co-authors reported in the Jan. 3 issue of Neurology. "These findings suggest that a two-week course of continuous theta-burst stimulation over the left hemisphere posterior parietal cortex may be a potential effective strategy in accelerating recovery from visuospatial neglect in subacute stroke patients, possibly counteracting the hyperexcitability of the left hemisphere parieto-frontal circuits," they wrote in conclusion. "This study provides class III evidence that left posterior parietal cortex theta-burst stimulation improves hemispatial neglect for up to two weeks after treatment," the authors added. As many as 40% of stroke patients develop hemispatial neglect, which refers to the inability to recognize or respond to stimuli on the side opposite to the brain infarction. The syndrome is particularly disabling to patients who have unilateral strokes of the right hemisphere. READ ARTICLE