Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has a wide range of potentially powerful effects. Another study has demonstrated increased stroke recovery when VNS is combined with physical therapy. The study involved 19 rehabilitation centers within the U.S. and U.K. and involved 108 participants.
The patients whose strokes had occurred an average of 3 years prior whose received rehabilitation 3 times a week for 6 weeks followed by a home exercise program. VNS was used in conjunction with therapeutic exercise.
About twice as many participants in the VNS group achieved clinically meaningful improvement in arm function. Ninety days after in-clinic therapy, 47%of this group had a clinically meaningful response compared with 24%of the control group.
This study both highlights the resilience of the brain to still be able to recover from injuries even many years after experiencing a stroke.