Treating Stroke Patients at the Intersection of Nerve and Muscle

A small gap exists at the neuromuscular junction where “the nerve talks to the muscle,” according to Zhang, by releasing a nano-sized particle called a neuro transmitter. It is inside this gap that Botox must be injected to block the neuro transmitter.

There’s just one problem: No one has ever been able to pinpoint the exact spot of the neuromuscular junction and to confound matters, it varies from patient to patient. To make sure the spot is covered, physicians may use a greater amount of Botox, probably more than necessary – and because Botox has to be repeated every few months, the success rate is not stable.

“Sometimes, even for the same patient with the same physician and same injection protocol – one time it works well, the next time it doesn’t,” said Zhang. He believes he can stabilize the results and reduce the cost of treatment by mapping where the nerve and muscle meet.