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New magnetic stimulation therapy to treat post-concussion symptoms

Researchers developed a non-invasive therapy that generates diffused and low‐intensity magnetic stimulation to treat post-concussion symptoms.

Concussion, also known as mild traumatic brain injury, is the most common form of traumatic brain injury that affects an individual’s brain function. It can occur with violent shaking and movement of the head or body, which can occur during a fall or collision.

Symptoms are usually temporary, and they may resolve within about two weeks. In cases where symptoms last longer than a few months, an individual may experience post-concussion symptoms such as headaches, temporary loss of consciousness, dizziness, nausea, and repeated vomiting.

There is no active treatment for post-concussion symptoms

About one-fifth of people who sustain a concussion have longer and persistent symptoms that interfere with their functioning and daily lives. Management of post-concussion symptoms is often a matter of resting and allowing the brain itself to recover naturally.

New magnetic stimulation therapy to treat post-concussion symptoms

In a recent study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, a group of researchers from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, developed a new repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy that could generate diffused and low‐intensity magnetic stimulation to deep cortical and subcortical areas.

This non-invasive therapy involves a series of short magnetic pulses directed to the brain to stimulate nerve cells. The magnetic pulses stimulate brain cells and change the functioning of the brain circuits involved.

New therapy works well in animals

As a first step to examine the neuroprotective effect of the magnetic stimulation therapy, the researchers treated mice who had sustained repeated concussions. Treatment lasted for 20 minutes, once daily, over a period of four days.

The researchers found that the treated mice significantly improved cognitive and motor functions as evidenced by open field exploration, rotarod, and novel location recognition tasks. More surprisingly, their body clocks, which can be altered by concussions, were also restored to their normal function.

This breakthrough research suggests a new way to treat post-concussion symptoms. It is portable, non-invasive, and affordable. The research team is planning for longer-term tests on rodents, followed by clinical trials.

Written by Man-tik Choy, Ph.D

Reference: Sekar et al. Low Field Magnetic Stimulation Restores Cognitive and Motor Functions in the Mouse Model of Repeated Traumatic Brain Injury: Role of Cellular Prion Protein. Journal of Neurotrauma, 2019. Article in press. DOI:10.1089/neu.2018.5918.

Man-tik Choy PhD
Man-tik Choy PhD
Man-Tik has a Ph.D. in Material Science and Engineering from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His research focuses on pharmaceutical sciences, biomaterial design and development, and advanced manufacturing technologies. Man-Tik has developed a strong interest in knowledge discovery and sharing through his practical training in different joint research projects. He is excited to contribute to Medical News Bulletin and help the public to understand science more effectively. In his free time, Man-Tik enjoys reading novels and painting.
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