Swedish Researchers Develop Bodysuits to Encourage Mobility after Brain Injury

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A group of Swedish researchers has developed a bodysuit that can be worn by persons who suffer from brain injury and other neurological disorders. The specially- designed bodysuit is equipped with a number of electrodes that are sewn into the inner lining of the suit. The electrodes stimulate several of the body's muscles, while the person is wearing the suit.

This is a battery-powered suit, and can be activated via a battery that is placed in a small box at the waistband of the suit. At least 58 electrodes are sewn into the inside of the bodysuit, and when electric current passes through them, they stimulate the body muscles.

According to the researchers, initial tests have found that persons wearing the suits experienced significant improvement in their mobility, and also experienced a significant reduction in pain. It was not just persons who suffered from brain injury who showed significant improvements after wearing the suit. Even persons who had suffered a stroke and suffered from paralysis as a result, showed increase mobility in their spastic limbs. They also had better functioning of their arms and hands after wearing the suits for a few days. In fact, the researchers say that all the patients who wore the suits showed improvement a few weeks after the experience.

The suit is not meant to be worn all the time. Rather, it is meant to be worn for just a few hours three days a week. It is recommended that patients wear the suit just before they have to go out for maximum effectiveness.

It will be a while before the suit is commercially available in the market, because it has not yet been subjected to independent clinical tests.

Traumatic Brain Injury Linked to Higher Risk of Stroke

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Over a period of time, traumatic brain injury contributes to a number of long-term health consequences that may be irrevocable. A new study, that analyzed data involving thousands of patients with traumatic brain injury, also links TBI to an enhanced risk of stroke.

Stroke is typically associated with the above 65 group, but a significant number, or approximately 20% of strokes every year involve persons in the under 65 category. Scientists for a while now have been at a loss to understand why strokes occur in people below 65 years of age.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School analyzed data involving more than 400,000 people who had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and more than 700,000 people who had suffered trauma, but no brain injury. All of these people had been treated in hospitals in California between 2005 and 2009, and the average age of the patients in the study was 49.2 years.

The researchers analyzed the risk of suffering a stroke among the persons who had suffered a brain injury over 28 months after the injury, and found that more than 11,000 people in the brain injury group or 1.1% suffered a stroke in the months after the injury. In the other group, the stroke risk was just about 0.9%.

According to the researchers, that is a statistically significant difference, because people in the below 65 year age group typically are not prime candidates for a stroke.

However, the researchers have stopped short of confirming a cause-and-effect relationship between stroke and brain injury. More studies are needed to investigate whether the increased stroke risk is due to an artery damaged by the injury, or is the result of stress or other factors.

Blockage of Brain Tsunamis Could Help Treat Brain Injury

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Soon after a severe brain injury, the damaged brain suffers from depolarizations, or ‘brain tsunamis’ that result in an increase in the real and severity of the injury, and contribute to poor patient outcomes. Patients with a severe brain injury may, therefore, be helped through treatments that can help block these ‘tsunamis’ as they occur. A new study confirms this phenomenon, and aims to lay the groundwork for the development of treatments to prevent depolarizations.

Previous studies have indicated to Los Angeles brain injury lawyers that a person who suffers a serious head injury may suffer from a phenomenon called cortical spreading depolarization. Short-circuiting in the nerve cells of the brain, which are responsible for storing of electrical and chemical energy, can lead to the malfunctioning and short-circuiting of other cells in the brain. The resulting effect is a tsunami-like phenomenon that can damage brain tissues, and reduce the chances of a full recovery for the patient. This effect intensifies the impact of the injury, and leads to a poor patient outcome.

Researchers from the United Kingdom and the US studied 103 patients who required brain surgery after suffering a head injury. During the surgery, the researchers attached a strip of electrodes near the area of the brain that had suffered the injury. They found that out of the 103 patients in the study, 58% suffered these brain tsunamis.

The researchers have now confirmed that these depolarizations severely impact the person's ability to recover after z brain injury. They believe that this evidence can be used to develop treatments to block the appearance of these depolarizations. If researchers can come up with a way to block these killer waves in the brain in the days after an injury, they can help limit the severity of the brain injury and its long-term impact. Patient outcomes could be improved substantially.

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