Priming With 1-Hz Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Over Contralesional Leg Motor Cortex Does Not Increase the Rate of Regaining Ambulation Within 3 Months of Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background

The potential benefits of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), applied either alone or as a combination treatment, on recovery of lower limbs after stroke have been insufficiently studied.

Objective

The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of priming with 1-Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over contralesional leg motor area with a double-cone coil before physical therapy on regaining ambulation.

Methods

Thirty-eight subacute stroke patients with significant leg disabilities were randomly assigned into the experimental group or control group to receive a 15-min real or sham 1-Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, respectively, over the contralesional motor cortex representing the quadriceps muscle followed by 45-min physical therapy for 15 sessions for 3 wks. Functional measures, motor evoked potentials, and quality of life were assessed.

Results

There was no significant difference between experimental group and control group regarding the recovery in ambulation, balance, motor functions, and activity of daily living. No significant difference was found in other functional measures and the quality of life. Only the control group displayed significantly increased cortical excitability of the contralesional hemisphere after the intervention.

Conclusions

The present study found that insufficient evidence that contralesional priming with 1-Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation improves ambulatory and other motor functions among patients with a severe leg dysfunction in subacute stroke.

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