Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) followed with a specific type of physical therapy can help stroke and Parkinson's disease patients improve their motor skills and do tasks important to their daily lives, according to Mahidol University's Faculty of Physical Therapy.
Assoc Prof Jarugool Tretriluxana, dean of the faculty, said the patients can use their hands and arms for movements such as lifting, reaching and grasping objects after a 20-minute brain stimulation session followed by 60-90 minutes of special physical therapy.
"After this rehabilitation session, stroke and Parkinson's disease patients can use their hands and arms for tasks like eating, drinking, buttoning their shirts and tying their shoelaces," said Assoc Prof Jarugool.
She said the rehabilitation is offered to stroke and Parkinson's disease patients at the Physical Therapy Centre, noting that the centre is the first in Southeast Asia to use physical therapy and brain stimulation to help these two groups improve their motor skills.
TMS pulses are delivered over the skull, targeting the primary motor areas of arm and hand muscles. This type of brain stimulation is a non-invasive method, which evoke the movements.
She said the centre plans to expand the treatment to autistic children who have communication problems related to fine motor skills to help them move and communicate their emotions better.
"Physical therapists differ from other healthcare personnel in that they are movement specialists and innovators. Our work is to find ways to help patients achieve the best possible quality of life and reduce costs of healthcare," she said.
She said the centre will share details of the therapy with other care units in the region.