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Animal Study Offers Intriguing Insight Into Your Potential for Self-Healing

The most common type of stroke can be completely prevented in rats by stimulating a single whisker.

While it’s too early to tell if the findings will translate to humans, researchers say it’s possible -- people also have sensitive body parts wired to the same area of the brain as rodents’ fine-tuned whiskers.  In people, stimulating the fingers, lips or face in general could all have a similar effect.

According to UC Irvine today:

“A stroke usually happens when a main artery bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain either ruptures or is blocked by a clot, causing partial brain death. The key to preventing strokes in rats whose main cerebral artery has been obstructed ... is to stimulate the blood-starved brain area.  The team discovered that mechanically stroking just one whisker for four minutes within the first two hours of the blockage caused the blood to quickly flow to other arteries -- like cars exiting a gridlocked freeway to find detours.”

The alternate arteries expanded beyond their normal size, opening to allow critical blood flow to the brain. The technique was 100 percent effective in preventing strokes in rats with arterial obstruction.

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