Cleveland Clinic conducting new study to help stroke patients - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Cleveland Clinic conducting new study to help stroke patients

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There's a new study aimed at helping stroke patients.  It's not a new drug or technology, doctors are using music.

"It happened in the middle of the night and I woke up one morning and felt very odd on the right side of my body and had a hard time walking," said Karen Rastenis, a stroke victim.

As many stroke victims do, Karen ignored what had happened for a few days.  It got so bad she couldn't hold a pen or write.

"It was in my brain stem which is a very critical stroke and what hit the most was my sense of balance."

Karen was hit by the silent killer just after her 50th birthday.

"I was extremely lucky to still be here.  When I went to the emergency room my blood pressure was 257/187 and it's a miracle that I'm here."

Now, Karen is taking part in a new study at the Cleveland Clinic looking at the effects of playing the piano on stroke victims.

"Can we get their brain to develop new circuits to move their hand to play that instrument to help them with their stroke rehabilitation," said Dr. Neil Cherian, a Neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Cherian says playing piano helps rebuild brain connections damaged by stroke.

"It's not how well up push the keys or what the music is but it's the act, it's the enjoyment, it's the interaction of doing that."

Karen had a stroke on August 11, 2001 and she had problem with her right hand but now this piano therapy is working wonders.

The Cleveland Clinic is looking for more stroke victims to take part in the study.

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