"Could an electrical zap to the brain limit the damage a stroke inflicts?
Yes, claims a small new study that found this noninvasive procedure increased blood flow to the areas around the clot that caused the stroke, thus protecting them from further damage.
"This treatment can be efficiently applied in the emergency setting. It was well tolerated and shows really promising signs of rescuing brain tissue affected by the stroke," said lead researcher Dr. Mersedeh Bahr-Hosseini, a vascular neurologist at UCLA Health in Los Angeles.
"Hopefully, in the not too far future, we will be able to further test the safety and effectiveness of this treatment," she said.
Bahr-Hosseini said the treatment works by boosting blood flow in the brain.
"We think it's not just the brain tissue or brain nerve cells that respond to electrical currents. Blood vessels also respond to the electrical current, usually in the form of vessel dilation," she said. By expanding the size of the blood vessels in the brain, more blood flows into the brain and protects blood vessels from damage, thus preventing more damage from the stroke.
Bahr-Hosseini said that electric stimulation might also protect brain tissue by stopping the extra nerve activity in brain cells as they react to the brain being under attack.
Moreover, increasing blood flow and expanding blood vessels may also help to dissolve the clot that caused the stroke, she added.
Electric brain stimulation has been used to treat psychiatric disorders such as depression, Bahr-Hosseini said."
Read more at HealthDay.