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Monday, February 13, 2017

Tongue Stimulation Could Give MS Patients Better Rehabilitation Outcomes, Study Suggests

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients given gentle electrical stimulation to their tongues during physical and cognitive rehabilitation training benefited more than those who did not have the stimulation, a small pilot study demonstrated.
Those who received the weak stimulation had significant improvements in balance and better scores than controls in cognition and other areas.
While the findings suggest that stimulation may enhance neuro-plasticity in the brain, researchers underscore that the concept needs further testing. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to make changes to compensate for injury and disease.
Helius Medical Technologies developed the tongue stimulation device, called a Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator, or PoNS. The idea came from observations that electrical stimulation using surface electrodes improved gait, when combined with training.
The tongue can easily transmit signals to the brain, so it’s suitable for stimulation.
Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University in Canada randomized 14 MS patients into two groups. Those in one group received stimulation. The others used a sham device which did not stimulate the nerves of their tongues.

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