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Somatosens Mot Res. 2017 Jun;34(2):102-107. doi: 10.1080/08990220.2017.1316254. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Effects of low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on upper extremity motor recovery and functional outcomes in chronic stroke patients: A randomized controlled trial.

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a Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation , Katip Celebi University , Izmir , Turkey.



Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) was suggested as a preconditioning method that would increase brain plasticity and that it would be optimal to combine rTMS with intensive rehabilitation.


To assess the efficacy of inhibitory rTMS on upper extremity motor recovery and functional outcomes in chronic ischemic stroke patients.


In this randomized controlled trial, experimental group received low-frequency (LF) rTMS to the primary motor cortex of the unaffected side + physical therapy (PT), and control group received PT.


No statistically significant difference was found in baseline demographical and clinical characteristics of the subjects including stroke severity or severity of paralysis prior to intervention. There were statistically significant improvements in all clinical outcome measures except for the Brunnstrom Recovery Stages. Fugl-Meyer Assessment, Box and Block test, motor and total scores of Functional Independence Measurement (FIM), and Functional Ambulation Scale (FAS) scores were significantly increased in both groups, however, these changes were significantly greater in the rTMS group except for FAS score. FIM cognitive scores and standardized mini-mental test scores were significantly increased and distal and hand Modified Ashworth Scale scores were significantly decreased only in the rTMS group (p < .05).


LF-rTMS can safely facilitate upper extremity motor recovery in patients with chronic ischemic stroke. TMS seems to be a promising treatment for motor, functional, and cognitive deficits in chronic stroke. Further studies with a larger number of patients with longer follow-up periods are needed to establish its effectiveness in stroke rehabilitation.


Chronic stroke; functional outcomes; motor recovery; rTMS; rehabilitation

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