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Brain stimulation hope for polio survivors

Tuesday August 27th, 2013

Brain stimulation may help survivors of polio who suffer from sleep and fatigue problems, according to a new study.

Researchers in Italy have been testing a procedure known as transcranial direct current stimulation, which delivers a direct electrical current to the brain through electrodes.

A study involving 32 patients suggested the treatment could trigger a range of health improvements, especially in sleep quality.

The patients had all survived polio in infancy but decades later complained of growing weakness and fatigue, a condition known as post-polio syndrome.

During the study, reported in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, some received a sham treatment.

Researcher Dr Laura Bertolasi, of the University of Verona, Italy, said: "Transcranial direct current stimulation might work by improving sleep.

"Because changes in sleep quality affect physical and psychological states, improving sleep quality could improve perceived vitality, social and emotional functioning, and, indirectly, also fatigue."

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) for sleep disturbances and fatigue in patients with post-polio syndrome. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience 2013. DOI 10.3233/RNN-130321

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Europe | Flu & Viruses

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