Centre for Health Services Studies

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This collaborative project between CHSS, Kent University’s School of Psychology, School of Biosciences and clinicians from East Kent’s hospitals pilots a new treatment for stroke sufferers diagnosed with hemi-spatial neglect. This is a disabling, visual-spatial neuropsychological impairment frequently associated with a lesion to the right hemisphere which causes sufferers to act as if one half of their visual world is missing - bumping into objects, leaving food on one side of a plate and failure to notice people at the affected side.

Effects can be over-shadowed by more observable impairments of movement or communication, yet the disorder is far more strongly predictive of general functional recovery from stroke. So far it has proved very difficult to remediate, and many showing hemi-spatial neglect at hospital admission still struggle with daily routine years later. This new treatment seeks to restore lost function to damaged visual brain areas via trans-cranial electrical stimulation, a procedure which injects sub-sensory levels of electrical current though electrodes placed on the scalp just behind the ears to stimulate nerve pathways from the inner ear to the damaged parts of the brain.

Current treatment requires specialist staff and space but this new stimulation method can be administered by a nurse at bedside. This is the first MRC-funded stroke study to directly involve East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust personnel.

Start date: 01/04/2011 End date: 31/03/2013

Funder: Medical Research Council

Funding: £49,835

Publications: Does Repeated Vestibular Stimulation Induce Lasting Recovery From Hemi-Spatial Neglect? (web page)

Galvanic vestibular stimulation in hemi-spatial neglect

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Who is involved


Centre for Health Services Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

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Last Updated: 20/03/2015