Brain injuries come with many unpleasant and sometimes unrepairable consequences. A team of scientists has studied animals recovering from strokes and determined a critical time when the brain can regain its motor ability. Studying animals and how they behave after an injury has been the key to determining when best for humans to start rehabilitation.
There were no studies that indicated an optimal time window for motor recovery for humans recovering from strokes. Through a controlled trial, researchers applied several elements of animal motor training to 72 stroke patients.
When is the best time for stroke patients to begin rehabilitation?
The standard practice for stroke patients and those with other brain injuries is to start rehabilitation as soon as possible. However, the study co-authored by Elissa Newport, director of the Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery at Georgetown University Medical Center, suggests that the best moment for intense rehabilitation should start two to three months after the stroke. The findings might create a chance in clinical protocol for the timing when stroke patients begin their rehabilitation journey.
Delaying rehab for a short time helps stroke patients
The stroke patients from the study were in their 50s and 60, and 1 patient was in his mid-40s. The research concluded that the brain is in survival mode after a stroke, and it might be beneficial to give it time. Afterward, the brain enters an interim period, and it perceives the brain injury as a scar.
The interim period is when stroke patients should begin their rehabilitation process and try to regain their motor skills. Scientists and health professionals seem to agree that there must be a critical moment when patients need to begin their recovery journey, which might change the existent protocols in hospitals and rehabilitation centers.