Skip to comments.Tickling Reduces Stroke-Induced Brain Damage in Rats
Posted on 10/02/2012 1:50:45 PM PDT by blam
The Healing Power of Touch: Tickling Reduces Stroke-Induced Brain Damage in Rats
Tickling a rat's whiskers after it has a stroke prevents brain damage
By Mark Lescroart
July 11, 2011
Strokes cripple more people in the U.S. than any other disease. Modern drugs can unblock clogged arteries if patients get to care facilities in time. But the longer the trip to the hospital, the more nerve cells die from lack of blood. Better ways to avert brain damage could dramatically improve patients quality of life. Recently a team of neuroscientists stumbled on a very low tech way to completely prevent stroke damage in rats: tickle their whiskers.
A team led by professor Ron Frostig of the University of California, Irvine, induced strokes in rats by blocking an artery to the brain. The researchers then stimulated their whiskers, intending to measure the rats brain activity to learn how the stroke damage affected sensory functions. Instead they found that if they vibrated a single whisker within two hours of the stroke, neurons that ordinarily would have died continued to function normally, and the rats ended up with no paralysis or sensory deficits. The exact mechanism of the protective effect is not clear, but it seems to involve a rerouting of blood through undamaged veins in the brain.
Follow-up research published in the journal Stroke in February showed that the pattern of tickling does not matter (though more helps), and ongoing research in Frostigs lab has shown that the stimulation does not have to be tactile, either. Auditory beeps prevent damage equally well.
The implications for human stroke victims are exciting, but there is no guarantee that playing music or touching sensitive areas such as the hands or face will have the same effect in people. In particular, the rats much smaller brain might have helped their recovery. Still, Frostig is cautiously optimistic: You may be able to help people way before the ambulance arrives, way before they can get any other treatment. It wouldnt hurt to talk to them and give their hands a squeeze on the way to the hospital, he says.
If this works on humans, that would be amazing.
And I bet it could be classified as a “green” job.
How do you tickle a rat?
Vote for obama...
this is your new cancer treatment under Obamacare ,too.
This is good news for my rat.
How do you tickle a rat
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Not that there is anything wrong with that.
While our economy is in the tank, prices skyrocketing, ‘ROME’ is burning and ‘Nero’(read Zero) is not only fiddling around, the regime is proposing we tickle rats.....
LOL - you guys set that up!
I’m guessing that the rat’s whiskers take up a comparable neural space to the human eye - a rat navigates dark spaces with its whiskers.
Rats laughing while being tickled.