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Ann Phys Rehabil Med. 2012 Dec;55(9-10):657-80. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2012 Sep 29.

Non-invasive cerebral stimulation for the upper limb rehabilitation after stroke: a review.

[Article in English, French]

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Regional Institute of Rehabilitation, centre de réadaptation pour grands handicapés, rue du Professeur-Montaut, 54690 Lay-Saint-Christophe, France.


Numerous studies have recently been published on improving upper-limb motor function after stroke. There has been a particular interest in brain stimulation techniques, which could promote brain plasticity. In this review, transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) are presented as techniques that could be relevant in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) centers in the future. We are presenting a comprehensive literature review on the studies using tDCS or rTMS for upper-limb rehabilitation after a stroke. Both techniques have shown their ability to modify cortical excitability and to transitorily improve upper-limb function after one single stimulation session. The first placebo-controlled, blinded therapeutic trials, which included repeated daily sessions, seem quite promising, and deserve to be validated by further trials.

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