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Stroke - Can Brain Function Be Regained?

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Having a stroke or witnessing someone else having one is a terrifying experience. Not only is the scene itself frightening, but the consequences might be serious.

Many of these repercussions include things like loss of speech and eyesight. It is brought on by a shortage of oxygen in the brain or a decrease in blood flow.

Fortunately, numerous effective recovery procedures can significantly improve the situation. But that doesn't mean the consequences of this event won't be dangerous and long-lasting.

The question of whether brain function can be restored after a stroke is one of the most interesting ones.

The answer to this question will depend on the situation, but most of the time, it is possible.

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/stroke/ by Karan Emery on 2022-08-09T13:39:13.170Z

What Is A Stroke?

A stroke is a condition that can occur when there is a disruption in the blood supply to the brain, such as when there is a clog or a burst. If there is a disruption in the blood supply, the brain cells will not receive the oxygen they require, which will lead to serious damage.

Drugs that dissolve blood clots are typically used in the treatment of strokes, and surgery may also be an option in some cases. Treatment for strokes varies according to the type of stroke and its location.

Nevertheless, even if therapy is given right away, the damage caused by a stroke can still cause subsequent stroke symptoms, such as the following:

  • Muscle weakness or paralysis on one side
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Cognitive problems

The good news is that thanks to a mechanism known as neuroplasticity, your brain will be able to restore some of these functions after suffering a stroke.

What is a stroke?

How Does The Brain Heal Itself After A Stroke?

It wasn't that long ago when people believed that the brain had little ability to mend itself after a stroke.

However, we are aware that it is possible for people to, and that they do, restore function. When it comes to repairing itself after being injured, the brain shows signs of being a fighter, as seen by the growing body of data suggesting this.

The answer to the question of how much time is required for this process is not known, which is to be expected.

The reduction in swelling of tissues that was brought on by the stroke is the first thing that comes to mind after thinking about this. In addition to that, one of the factors that is important is getting rid of all of the toxic substances.

The ability of the brain to restructure its neurons as a result of new information or new experiences is referred to as neuroplasticity. Over one hundred trillion neuronal connections make up your brain. The paths that these connections make in your brain are what allow you to remember things and store them.

When someone suffers a stroke, a portion of their brain is injured, and a significant number of these connections are severed. Because of this, many individuals have difficulty moving around after having a medical condition such as a stroke, for instance, because the brain connections that control movement have been disrupted.

However, through a process known as neuroplasticity, new neural connections can be formed in the brain.

It is even able to move functions that were previously stored in damaged sections of the brain to other areas of the brain that are healthy. After suffering a stroke, you can recover some of your movement and other skills through this approach, but it takes your help.

What Are The Best Exercises After A Stroke?

Your brain cells can begin to regenerate in a number of different ways after a stroke, one of which is through participating in therapy.

You need to provide a hand to them by carrying out some of your own responsibilities. If you do that, there is a good probability that a sizable portion of your cognitive abilities will be restored to their previous levels. There are a wide variety of different exercises to pick from.

They may also be contingent on the requirements and preferences you have. Participating in any kind of activity, such as painting or playing an instrument, is a good example of one of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal.

Chess is just one example of a game that you can only win by using your mind. Playing games like this can help speed up the healing process.

In addition to these activities, it can be quite beneficial to spend quality time with your loved ones, including family and friends.

Not only will it assist you in communicating effectively, but it will also reduce the amount of tension you are experiencing to an absolute minimum. It is for this reason that it is encouraged to spend as much time as possible surrounded by the people who are most important to you.

Getting The Brain To Change Through Repetition

In the past, researchers had the misconception that the adult brain did not change. Because of this, beyond a certain point in a person's development, the brain is no longer able to adjust to new information.

However, a recent study has shown that the brain maintains its capacity for plasticity throughout life, even into old age. The state of being flexible is referred to as plasticity.

In addition, research has shown that performing the same action repeatedly can engage neuroplasticity and lead to changes inside the brain. So, massed practice, which is another name for workouts with a lot of repetitions, is an important part of stroke rehabilitation.

Your brain generates new neural connections in reaction to the movement of your body whenever you carry out an action. Because of these pathways, the brain is able to store and retrieve information more quickly and efficiently. The more you perform that movement, the more you strengthen those neural pathways, which in turn causes that activity to become easier the more you practice it.

What is a Stroke? (HealthSketch)

This helps to explain why, for example, a person's first attempt at playing a chord on the guitar will feel sluggish and clumsy in comparison to subsequent attempts. On the other hand, by the hundredth time, it appears to be second nature. That's an example of neuroplasticity at work.

Therefore, in order to recover the ability to talk after having a stroke, you will need to engage in speech therapy activities on a daily basis several times. If you want to improve both your memory and your balance, you can do so by following the same rule.

If you give yourself enough practice, you will be able to trigger neuroplasticity and assist your brain to mend itself after a stroke regardless of the capacity you wish to enhance. You should start to regain that function at some point in the future.

Getting Rid Of Learned Non-Use After A Stroke

Although neuroplasticity has the potential to facilitate the brain's recovery after a stroke, there is a drawback associated with it that you should be aware of. Maladaptive plasticity is the term used by therapists to describe this problem.

When an action is repeatedly performed in an inappropriate manner, a condition known as maladaptive plasticity can develop. If you can't use your right hand to pick up a cup, for example, you might use your left hand instead.

However, if you continue to use only your left hand, your brain will eventually "forget" how to use your right hand if you only use your left hand. This results in a state known as learnt non-use, which can lead to a function being permanently lost as a consequence.

Because of this, therapists will likely recommend that you incorporate restorative practices into your overall healing plan. Not only do restorative therapies teach you how to adapt, but they also educate you on how to retrieve lost function.

Therefore, if your right hand is weak, you should fight the impulse to accomplish everything with your left hand and instead focus on strengthening your right hand. Instead, make an effort to use your right hand as much as you possibly can, even if you occasionally need to lend it a helping hand with the one you normally use.

Brain Rewiring To Restore Stroke Abilities

By putting an emphasis on high repetition in stroke therapy, you can help your brain heal itself after a stroke by turning on neuroplasticity.

When you engage in physical activity that stimulates neuroplasticity, you assist your brain in repairing damaged connections. This not only allows you to relearn certain functions, but it also stops the degeneration of your neurons and keeps your condition from getting worse.

Therefore, even if you have experienced a major stroke, it is still possible for you to make a full recovery from the effects of the illness. Maintain your self-control and put in lots of effort, and you will start to notice benefits.

A therapist wearing a white top teaching a stroke patient leg exercises
A therapist wearing a white top teaching a stroke patient leg exercises

The Recovery Stages

The process of recovering from a stroke is not an easy one to go through. Every single patient is required to go through a number of different stages. The first step is called acute care, and it begins as soon as the emergency medical technicians arrive on the scene. They will use everything they know and do to help the person get back to a stable state.

There is a possibility that now is not the appropriate moment to carry out the procedure once the patient returns home from the hospital. As a result, it would be a wise decision to engage some expert assistance to help with all of the day-to-day challenges that the patient is required to face. It's possible that moving into a nursing home may be the best option for you.

When the patient is in a position where they do not require any assistance from a medical expert, then the patient can begin taking care of themselves on their own. Having a caregiver who is a member of the family is, nonetheless, a smart option. After a certain amount of time has passed, you should anticipate things to begin getting better. However, it is essential to get in as much practice as you can.

People Also Ask

Can Brain Function Come Back After A Stroke?

The simple answer is that yes, while the degree of recovery may vary, the brain can recover from acute trauma caused by a stroke or brain injury. Neuroplasticity, often known as brain plasticity, is the reason the brain can heal at all.

How Long Does Brain Damage Last After A Stroke?

The first few months after a stroke are typically when cognitive issues are most severe, but they can and do get better. Since your brain is working hardest to restore itself over the first three months, symptoms are likely to get better throughout this time.

Is Memory Loss From A Stroke Permanent?

Therapies or medicines almost never fully restore memory after stroke. However, many people do recover at least some memory spontaneously after a stroke. Others improve through rehabilitation.

How Likely Is A Second Stroke?

Even if you recover from a stroke, you are still at risk of having another one because they are highly likely to occur one after the other. In actuality, 23% of the 795,000 Americans who will have their first stroke this year will also have a second one. What steps may stroke victims take to prevent a recurrence?

Conclusion

After suffering a stroke, there is reason to have hope for one's recovery. People who are elderly or unwell who have experienced a stroke can still make progress toward recovery. When rehabilitation starts early, which can include physical, occupational, and speech therapy, the results are usually the best they can be.

Early rehabilitation can help prevent the increased handicap that otherwise commonly arises in people who fail to acquire therapy promptly after their stroke. This is especially true in cases where the individual does not receive treatment immediately after a stroke. Even though a stroke patient is likely to make the most progress in the first few months after the event, they may be able to keep getting better for a much longer time, or even for the rest of their lives.

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About The Authors

Karan Emery

Karan Emery - I'm a research scientist interested in learning more about how neural activity influences and shapes human behavior. Project design and management, data analysis and interpretation, and the creation and implementation of testing tools are among my specialties. I enjoy coming up with new ideas and coming up with practical solutions to issues that are widely applicable. My colleagues would describe me as a driven, resourceful individual who maintains a positive, proactive attitude when faced with adversity. Currently, I’m seeking opportunities that will allow me to develop and promote technologies that benefit human health. Specific fields of interest include data analytics, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals.

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