The Need to Improve Poststroke Care: Mijail Serruya, MD, PhD


The assistant professor of neurology at Thomas Jefferson University discussed areas of poststroke care that need improvement including a more streamlined process.

"The idea is that if you can show that there’s a possibility that there’s signals in there and that there can be learning, maybe that will be enough energy for people to revisit it and say, ‘oh well, maybe poststroke care beyond just those 2 months can still do something,’ and that there’s something worth rescuing and keeping awake.”

Emergency stroke treatment can vary depending on whether a patient is having an ischemic stroke or a stroke that involves bleeding into the brain (hemorrhagic). The process of treating stroke is time sensitive and is often done by using emergency intravenous medication such as alteplase or endovascular procedures, which have been studied frequently. An area that some clinicians note could use some improvement, however, is the poststroke phase of care.

Mijail Serruya, MD, PhD, claims that clinicians have a greater academic knowledge of locating lesions and identifying areas of the brain stroke may have an impact, though a limited one in terms of actually mitigating these impacts outside of the traditional physical therapy. Serruya, an assistant professor of neurology at Thomas Jefferson University, is leading a project using brain implants connected to a robotic arm brace on a poststroke patient to see if they can overcome abnormal movement and restore abilities.

If successful, the trial could potentially open up more treatment options for this patient population. In this interview, Serruya discusses the levels of poststroke disability and the inconsistencies that occur with the available treatment options. He stresses that increasing the research opportunities may lend itself to an overall greater treatment of the disease as well as more leeway from insurance companies on the restrictions for physical therapy and other specialist options.

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