For Stroke Victims, Brain Magnetic Stimulation Leads to Improved Walking Speed
Noninvasive repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) – especially high-frequency stimulation on the same side of the brain where the stroke occurred – leads to improved walking speed, according to the review and meta-analysis by Chengqi He, MD, of Sichuan University, People’s Republic of China, and Shasha Li, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and colleagues. But at least so far, the evidence doesn’t show improvement in balance and other key outcomes in stroke patients undergoing rTMS.
Magnetic Stimulation of the Brain after Stroke – Promising Results, More Research Needed
The researchers performed a systematic review of the research literature to identify studies of the effects of rTMS on walking and balance function after stroke. In this technique, patients undergo repeated sessions of magnetic stimulation of the brain, with the goal of stimulating a targeted area of the brain. The technique is painless and noninvasive; stimulation is delivered through the skull (transcranial) using magnetic coils.
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