After a cerebrovascular accident leading to hemiplegia with paralysis of one arm, surgical transposition of a nerve root, from the healthy side to the sick side, reduces paralysis, pain and disability.
In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers show how transplanting the 7th cervical nerve root from the healthy side into the paralyzed arm can improve motor skills after a stroke.
Hemiplegia after stroke
A stroke is rarely inconsequential. Among the most common sequelae, paralysis of one side of the body ("hemiplegia"), is in the lead and primarily affects the arm. If stroke is one of the leading causes of death in France, it is also one of the leading causes of disability in adults.
To conduct the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers focused on patients with paralysis, and more specifically "spastic hemiplegia", that is to say hemiplegia accompanied by a painful stiffness of the arm, very painful.
Paralyzed arm and cervical root transplant
Indeed, we speak of spastic hemiplegia when the muscle tone of the paralyzed arm, which is no longer controlled by the regulating nervous system, is exaggerated. The muscles are then excessively stiff and contracted. It's painful and disabling.
To carry out their test, the researchers involved 36 people with arm paralysis for more than five years after a stroke. Half of them had a 7th cervical root transplant, from the healthy side to the sick side, followed by rehabilitation. The other half has only done rehabilitation.
Reduction of paralysis of the diseased arm
According to the researchers, the group that benefited from the transplant made more progress. More than those who have only done rehabilitation.
The paralyzed arm muscles were less stiff, less contracted. Also noteworthy is the finding of a return of functional connectivity between the brain and the paralyzed arm.
A promising new technique to solve a disability problem after stroke.