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Exercise best for stroke victims



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ROCHESTER, Minn., Oct 19, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Swedish and U.S. researchers say physical training is the optimal treatment for stroke survivors' impaired movement and thinking.

The insight by researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Stockholm's Karolinska Institute is summarized in the latest issue of the online journal Experimental Neurology. The findings run counter to current wisdom that the optimal treatment in such cases is amphetamines.

The scientists designed an investigation of rats that had brain damage similar to that suffered by human stroke patients.

"We were surprised amphetamine use didn't have more of the effect that was suggested by previous studies," says Dr. Allen Brown. He added: "Instead, we found that physical training consisting of teaching rats to walk along a beam had the most powerful effect on recovery. This raises significant questions about the role of stimulant treatment to enhance motor recovery following stroke."

An estimated 750,000 Americans experience a stroke every year. Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, and the third most common cause of death.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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