By Maureen Salamon

WEDNESDAY, March 1, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- An implanted device that provides electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve leading to the enhanced arm movement in a small group of patients, researchers report.

Evaluating 17 stroke patients with chronic arm weakness who also received intense , scientists found that three-quarters improved with vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), while only one-quarter of those receiving "sham" nerve stimulation did.

"Arm weakness affects three of every four of our patients and persists to a disabling degree in at least 50 percent of them, so it's a hugely important problem in the long term," explained study author Dr. Jesse Dawson. He's director of the Scottish Research Network and a clinical researcher at University of Glasgow.

"A unique aspect of this [device] is that patients can deliver the brain stimulation technique in their own home during exercise .