Submissions from Readers

Is there a doctor somewhere who can help?

by James Martin
(Eastpointe Michigan US)

Question: My wife suffered a stroke 3 years ago and lost the use of her right side but a lot has come back except for the movement below the right elbow and hand. With all this modern medicine, is there not one doctor who can help her gain the movement back in her right hand?


Answer: I understand your frustration. Unfortunately, the brain is very complex, and when a portion of the brain is damaged that controls movement, it may have lasting effects. The brain has been shown to have neuroplastic properties so sometimes new pathways are made and the brain can compensate for damaged areas, but the process is not well understood at this time and certain parts of the brain appear to be more adaptable than others. The only advice I can give you is to find the best neurologist that you can, keep up with latest research, and to tell your wife not to give up. One thing is for certain with the brain, if you do not use a body part, the learned pattern of movement with that body part deteriorates. You might investigate further into mirror therapy which is thought to "trick" the brain into thinking that the arm can move and possibly help with creating pathways in the motor cortex.

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