The Effect of Electromagnetic Field Treatment on Recovery from Ischemic Stroke in a Rat Stroke Model: Clinical, Imaging, and Pathological Findings

Stroke Res Treat. 2016;2016:6941946. doi: 10.1155/2016/6941946. Epub 2016 Feb 1.


Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability. Effects of stroke include significant deficits in sensory-motor skills and cognitive abilities. At present, there are limited effective interventions for postacute stroke patients. In this preliminary research we studied a new noninvasive, very low intensity, low frequency, electromagnetic field treatment (VLIFE), targeting a neural network, on an in vivo stroke rat model. Eighteen rats were divided into three groups: sham (M1) and two treatment groups which were exposed to VLIFE treatment for 4 weeks, one using theta waves (M2) and another using beta waves (M3); all groups were followed up for an additional month. Results indicate that the M2 and M3 treated groups showed recovery of sensorimotor functional deficits, as demonstrated by Modified Neurological Severity Score and forelimb placement tests. Brain MRI imaging results show a decrease in perilesional edema and lateral ventricle widening in the treated groups. Fiber tracts' imaging, following VLIFE treatment, showed a higher white matter integrity compared to control. Histological findings support neural regeneration processes. Our data suggest that VLIFE treatment, targeting a specific functional neural network by frequency rather than location, promotes neuronal plasticity after stroke and, as a result, improves clinical recovery. Further studies will investigate the full potential of the treatment.