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Physical Training Better Than Drugs for Stroke Rehab

In another case that proves a natural, healthy solution trumps the temporary "cure" -- taking drugs -- to solve a permanent problem, a team of international researchers has found physical training is the optimal solution that helps stroke survivors improve and not the more common treatment with amphetamines.

Up to now, prescribing amphetamines to stroke victims had been emphasized more than physical training. These new results help to clarify a treatment question that has been muddy ever since the first animal studies in the 1980s suggested a possible role for amphetamine use in human stroke rehabilitation.

Researchers investigated rats with brain damage similar to that suffered by human stroke patients. Doctors admitted they were surprised amphetamine use didn't have the beneficial effect that they later discovered when teaching rats how to walk along a beam.

One researcher pointed out that because physical training alone changes recovery behavior, the stroke rehabilitation therapists also have an extremely potent effect on how the genes work to direct recovery.

EurekAlert October 18, 2004

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