Research grant success could give countless stroke survivors their lives back.
People who suffer from an as yet incurable debilitating condition as a result of stroke or head injury could soon benefit from a new treatment being pioneered by staff in East Kent Hospitals in collaboration with the University of Kent.
The Trust has been given a £310K research grant by the Medical Research Council to trial a procedure to treat Hemi-Spatial Neglect - a condition where people behave as though the left hand side of the world as they see it doesn’t exist.
Patients with extreme neglect can shave just one side of their face or eat the food on only one side of their plate, whereas others with less pronounced symptoms may simply regularly ‘lose’ things that they have put down on their left-hand side.
“This condition can be enormously debilitating,” said Dr Mo Sakel, Director of Neurorehabilitation and Research & Development for the Trust. “People with it often cannot
live a ‘normal’ life - just walking across a room is an impossible task. It is considered to be the most important predictor of long-term disability for stroke survivors and is a common complication of stroke.”
Dr Wilkinson, Dr Sakel and their research team have discovered that by repeatedly stimulating an area of the ear canal with a very small electrical current it is possible to provide long-term recovery from the condition.
As a result of the prestigious Medical Research Grant - the first of its kind for East Kent Hospitals - the Trust and University of Kent will run an 18-month randomised controlled trial to further their research.
If proven to be successful, this treatment will give many people their lives back.
Updated May 2011