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Cutting-Edge Technology for Stroke to be Studied at St. Charles

St. Charles Hospital is conducting an investigative study about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a technologically advanced rehabilitation treatment for patients who have suffered a stroke.

During TMS sessions, “paddles” which emit magnetic pulses are placed over study participants’ heads. The magnetic pulses pass through participants’ brain tissue to deliver pain-free electrical stimulation to the superficial layer of the brain. Researchers at St. Charles apply TMS repetitively to explore how this stimulation may affect activity in specific areas of the brain changed by a stroke. Physicians from St. Charles are in the process of identifying and selecting appropriate individuals for the study from among their acute care rehabilitation patients.

“There is strong evidence suggesting that TMS improves patients thinking processes and the way in which the brain, nervous system and muscles work together following a stroke. However, TMS is a relatively new form of treatment that is not used routinely,” explained Jun Zhang, MD, a physiatrist at St. Charles, and the principal investigator in the study.

Dr. Zhang continued, “St. Charles is conducting this study as we continually seek new technology. We aim to give  our patients access to the most advanced rehabilitation treatments and to make a contribution in identifying the best treatment options available.”

For the past 30 years, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has been used to study brain function as well as treat various medical conditions, such as depression, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, stroke and more. It was recently approved by the FDA as a form of therapy for depression that fails to respond to medication. As stroke rehabilitation has focused more intently on examining changes that occur in the brain and nervous system following a stroke, specialized rehabilitation centers have begun exploring the use of TMS as a new treatment option. More studies, like the one being conducted at St. Charles, are needed to explore TMS application to different areas of the brain and to better understand types and timing of therapy.

For more information on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), please call (631) 474-6797.

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