Public Release: 

Brain stimulation plus adult neural stem cells may speed stroke recovery

Wednesday News Tip Presentation 59 -- Session: A11

American Heart Association

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 24, 2018 -- Electrically stimulating implanted adult stem cells may someday speed stroke recovery, according to preliminary research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2018, a world premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease for researchers and clinicians.

Stem cell injections are already being studied in people who are slow to recover after an ischemic stroke (clot-caused stroke). In this study, researchers implanted human neural stem cells in 10 rats and tested whether electrically stimulating the cells might lead to increased stem cell production and faster stroke recovery.

A conductive polymer scaffold which can be precisely stimulated with electricity was seeded with human neural stem cells and implanted into some of the animals one-week after stroke was induced. After six weeks of behavioral tests, researchers found the quickest recovery and increased production of the animal's own stem cells occurred in those who received implanted stem cells plus three days of electrical stimulation from implanted electrodes in the brain compared to recovery rates from rats who received 1) brain stimulation only or 2) stem cell implantation only or 3) none of these.

These results may help scientists design better ways to use stem cells to treat patients after stroke, researchers said.

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The National Institutes of Health and the Stanford University School of Medicine Dean's Postdoctoral Fellowship funded the study.

Byeongtaek Oh, Ph.D., Stanford university, Stanford, California.

Presentation location: Room 502B

Additional Resources:

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

About the American Stroke Association

The American Stroke Association is devoted to saving people from stroke -- the No. 2 cause of death in the world and a leading cause of serious disability. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat stroke. The Dallas-based association officially launched in 1998 as a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-888-4STROKE or visit StrokeAssociation.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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