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Noninvasive current stimulation improves sight in patients with optic nerve damage
Date:10/31/2011

Magdeburg, Germany, October 31, 2011 - It has long been thought that blindness after brain lesions is irreversible and that damage to the optic nerves leads to permanent impairments in everyday activities such as reading, driving, and spatial orientation. A new study published in Elsevier's Brain Stimulation suggests that treating such patients with low levels of non-invasive, repetitive, transorbital alternating current stimulation (rtACS) for 10 days (30-40 min per day) significantly reduces visual impairment and markedly improves vision-related quality of life.

The results of this study showed that treatment with rtACS resulted in an average of 41% shrinkage of the visual field loss. The rtACS-treated patients show significantly improved visual field sizes, which was not seen in patients who received sham treatment. Actively treated patients confirmed that their "general vision" was improved. In the sham-group, visual fields and estimates of subjective visual functioning remained largely unchanged.

"Our findings are important because they show that partial blindness can be reversed. We show for the first time that partial blindness can be reduced by a short-lasting therapeutic procedure using non-invasive electrical current stimulation," states Dr. Bernhard A. Sabel, researcher and senior author of this study

A group of 42 patients with visual impairments following optic nerve damage participated in the study. Patients were randomly assigned to either a control condition with sham stimulation or rtACS given with an alternating current stimulation device (EBS Technologies GmbH, Kleinmachnow, Germany) with electrodes positioned near the eyes. The length of the daily treatment session (both rtACS and sham-treatment) varied between 10 to 20 min for each eye, i.e. max 40 min. The optic nerve lesions were treated long after the early recovery phase (mean lesion age 5.5 yrs). Both patients and the experimenter evaluating the visio
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Contact: Donna Santaromita
d.santaromita@elsevier.com
212-633-3962
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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