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

n parameters were unaware to which treatment arm the patients belonged. The study's idea was to enhance visual system plasticity by increasing synaptic strength of residual cells in the partially damaged visual system and thus improve any residual visual capacity. The study documents a considerable activation potential of residual vision following optic nerve damage. Current pulses administered to the eye in a non-invasive manner might be able to unveil this plasticity.

The researchers were particularly interested to learn if rtACS has an effect on self-estimated visual and health-related functioning as assessed by quality of life questionnaires (e.g., the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire, NEI-VFQ). Vision parameters and patient reported outcomes were collected before and after the 10-day treatment course.

The findings of this study are not only of interest to basic scientists, showing that the adult visual system is more modifiable than was previously thought, but may also help develop new therapies for patients with visual field loss. Improving vision in a subjectively meaningful way is a clinical achievement that reduces the suffering of the partially blind.

Additional studies are now underway to document in patients with visual dysfunction the neurobiological basis of the rtACS effects. Furthermore, a clinical trial with larger patient groups is currently underway to replicate these findings. Finally, the use of rtACS for the treatment of hemianopia after stroke is now being explored as well.


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Contact: Donna Santaromita
d.santaromita@elsevier.com
212-633-3962
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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