New device helps deep brain stimulation for stroke patients

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New device helps deep brain stimulation for stroke patients: Rick Williams reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on August 14, 2017. (WPVI)

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States and physical therapy has been the only way to help people recover - until now.

A small trial is underway in Cleveland to see whether deep brain stimulation can help stroke patients regain movement.

DBS is like a pacemaker for the brain. The electrode goes into a specific area to reactivate disrupted nerve connections.

A few weeks after Judy Slater's device was surgically implanted, it was turned on and the progress began.

"She should move her arm within a few weeks in a way she had not been able to move since the stroke, and Judy has made steady progress after the surgery," said Dr. Andre Machado.

Before the surgery, Judy's hand was essentially frozen. But afterward, with a few months of physical therapy, she can open her hand and do things she couldn't before.

Twelve people in all will receive the DBS devices.

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