Abstract:  “Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of long-term disability. Ischemic stroke, due to an interruption in blood supply, is particularly prevalent; 87% of all strokes are ischemic. Unfortunately, current options for acute treatment are extremely limited and there is a great need for new treatment strategies. This review will discuss evidence that mild sensory stimulation can completely protect the jeopardized brain from an impending stroke in a rodent model. When delivered within the first 2 hours following ischemic onset, this stimulation results in complete protection, including a full reestablishment of cortical function, sensorimotor capabilities, and blood flow. Identical stimulation, however, initiated 3 hours following ischemic onset, results in an increase in damage compared with untreated animals. The protective effect is not specific to a single sensory modality, anesthesia, or age, and increasing evoked cortical activity by increasing stimulation accelerates recovery. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that cortical activity is a critical factor for protection and suggest a new, exciting potential avenue for the development of acute stroke treatment strategies that may produce a noninvasive, drug-free, equipment-free, and side effect-free means of protecting from ischemic stroke.”

Frostig RD, Lay CC, Davis MF. A rat’s whiskers point the way toward a novel stimulus-dependent, protective stroke therapy. Neuroscientist. 2013 Jun;19(3):313-28. doi: 10.1177/1073858412462607. Epub 2012 Oct 9. PMID:23047156; PMCID: PMC3710106.


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