Magnetism, Electricity May Treat Strokes

They were wrong. Six years after that horrible day at the dock in 1996, Mickey Poduje (pronounced “poh-DOO-yay”) entered a Boston laboratory and had a metal device the shape of a figure-8 pressed to her right temple. It sent magnetic pulses into her brain. And the result, published just this year, is that her speech did improve slightly.

It’s one of a handful of recent experiments in stroke patients that sound like the fantastic promises of an old traveling medicine show. Improving speech by zapping the brain with magnetism? Making weakened limbs work better by putting coils on the head and releasing current so weak it could come from a battery?

Those ideas have spurred interest in a handful of laboratories in the United States and abroad. The few preliminary results produced so far are not cures. They are more intriguing than life-changing. But scientists hope that with further refinement, the techniques could provide new tools for treating strokes, which attack some 700,000 Americans a year.”

Technology, you have got to love it. But at the same time you have to wonder if the cures for many of our ailments are already here, just undiscovered.

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