‘Brain pacemaker’ Could Help Stroke Patients Have Quicker Recovery

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) may play a beneficial role in the motor recovery of stroke patients, new clinical trials at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have revealed. As part of the therapy, stroke rehab specialists surgically implant the MicroTransponder Vivistim — an electrical device that stimulates the vagus nerve — into the patient’s chest wall. It works via a wireless transmitter, which picks up signals, redirects them to the vagus nerve (located in the neck) and stimulates the brainwhenever a therapist pushes a button.

The device assists patients by strengthening motor connections when they perform an action correctly. Essentially, it’s rewiring brain circuitry, a phenomenon also referred to as neuroplasticity. This means that the release of new neurotransmitters from the brain could help a patient who has lost mobility in their arms or legs to slowly regain control.

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