Restoration of the brain after its anatomical damage is one of the most difficult tasks of modern neuroscience. Its relevance stems from frightening data on the prevalence and consequences of strokes. In Russia, there are at least 400 thousand of them a year, less than 10% of them are lungs. Stroke survivors make up about 0.7% of the country’s population.
Previously, in animal studies, scientists have shown that there is a period of time during which rehabilitation after a stroke is most effective. American scientists decided to find such a period for people.
The study involved 72 stroke survivors. They were divided into several groups. Control participants received standard stroke rehabilitation. In three others, people were assigned 20 hours of additional exercise to develop hand motor skills. The timing of this therapy differed in different groups: from the 30th day, from the 60th to the 90th day, after six months.
Compared to the control group, the improvement in hand function was functionally significant in people who received an enhanced rehabilitation program from day 60 to day 90. That is, it could not only be detected with the help of special tests: it was obvious to the patients themselves.
“Our evidence suggests that intensive motor rehabilitation should be provided to patients between days 60 and 90 after suffering a stroke,” said Elissa Newport of Georgetown University, co-author of the study.
Newport stressed that this period of time can probably be called a period of increased plasticity of the brain of patients after stroke.
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
- Sudden weakness or numbness in half of the face, arms, legs.
- Sudden confusion of consciousness, speech disorder, difficulty in understanding it.
- Visual impairment in one or two eyes.
- Sudden dizziness, loss of balance and coordination.
Sources of: CDC, American Stroke Association, Mayo.
“Knowing that there is a critical period for recovery at a certain time, many techniques can be used to accelerate recovery,” commented Dorothy F. Edwards of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, co-author of the study.
Scientists hope that their study has identified a window of time during which the brain can be affected by other methods, such as electrical stimulation or drugs. They consider this to be an important topic for future research. In the future, they also plan to validate the data from this study in larger studies and calculate the optimal amount of stress required for rehabilitation.