Deep brain stimulation shows promising results for stroke patients, study finds

A new study reveals deep brain stimulation can help people recover faster from a stroke. After years in the making, a doctor with Cleveland Clinic explains how this technology works.

Results from a Cleveland Clinic study, which has been years in the making, show the benefits of deep brain stimulation for people who have had a stroke.

Dr. Andre Machado, who is Chairman of the Neurological Institute, helped lead the study.

“We evaluated, for the first time, if we could use a modified type of deep brain stimulation, a modified type of brain pacemaker, going into an area of the brain called the cerebellum, to help people recover from the weakness that resulted from a prior stroke,” explained Machado.

He said 12 patients were involved with the trial and seven of them had a great response, while the other five saw less of an improvement.

For those who did do well, they were able to regain mobility in their hand and arm.

Machado said they learned during the research that the more residual movement a stroke patient had prior, the better their outcome.

He said there were a lot of amazing stories to come out of the trial, which has been inspiring.

“It’s really meaningful for the researchers to see that their work is making a real impact in someone’s life, and it motivates us when a patient tells us that this has been so relevant, so meaningful to me that now I can do this thing that I couldn’t do before. It just makes us work harder,” he said.

Machado said their research is still far from over. They are getting ready for the next phase of the trial, which will include 40 patients and involvement from other organizations in the United States.