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Top Stroke Rehabil. 2017 Jul;24(5):361-367. doi: 10.1080/10749357.2017.1305644. Epub 2017 Mar 22.

Effects of low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and neuromuscular electrical stimulation on upper extremity motor recovery in the early period after stroke: a preliminary study.

Author information

1
a Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation , Izmir Katip Celebi University , Izmir , Turkey.
2
b Department of Neurology , Izmir Katip Celebi University , Izmir , Turkey.
3
c Department of Radiology , Izmir Katip Celebi University , Izmir , Turkey.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the efficacy of inhibitory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) on upper extremity motor function in patients with acute/subacute ischemic stroke.

METHODS:

Twenty-five ischemic acute/subacute stroke subjects were enrolled in this randomized controlled trial. Experimental group 1 received low frequency (LF) rTMS to the primary motor cortex of the unaffected side + physical therapy (PT) including activities to improve strength, flexibility, transfers, posture, balance, coordination, and activities of daily living, mainly focusing on upper limb movements; experimental group 2 received the same protocol combined with NMES to hand extensor muscles; and the control group received only PT. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan was used to evaluate the activation or inhibition of the affected and unaffected primary motor cortex.

RESULTS:

No adverse effect was reported. Most of the clinical outcome scores improved significantly in all groups, however no statistically significant difference was found between groups due to the small sample sizes. The highest percent improvement scores were observed in TMS + NMES group (varying between 48 and 99.3%) and the lowest scores in control group (varying between 13.1 and 28.1%). Hand motor recovery was significant in both experimental groups while it did not change in control group. Some motor cortex excitability changes were also observed in fMRI.

CONCLUSION:

LF-rTMS with or without NMES seems to facilitate the motor recovery in the paretic hand of patients with acute/subacute ischemic stroke. TMS or the combination of TMS + NMES may be a promising additional therapy in upper limb motor training. Further studies with larger numbers of patients are needed to establish their effectiveness in upper limb motor rehabilitation of stroke.

KEYWORDS:

NMES; Stroke; fMRI; rTMS; rehabilitation

PMID:
28327054
DOI:
10.1080/10749357.2017.1305644
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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