In a nutshell
This study reviewed the effectiveness of brain stimulation (BS) in treating symptoms after stroke. Researchers suggested that BS is associated with improved recovery in these patients.
A stroke is caused by a blood cut-off to the brain. This is followed by the death of brain cells that stopped receiving oxygen. The abilities controlled by these cells are lost leaving patients with symptoms such as arm or leg paralysis. 83% of stroke survivors have an impaired balance and postural control (muscle control to maintain an upright posture). This can limit the walking ability and increase the risk of falling.
Conventional rehabilitation is only of limited effectiveness in the treatment of these symptoms. BS consists of placing a device in the brain or on the skull that uses electrical impulses to stimulate the brain cells. One type of BS is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) that uses magnetic fields. Transcranial direct current stimulation (DCS) is another type of BS. It delivers weak electrical currents to the affected area.
Prior studies showed that BS improves leg function recovery. However, whether BS can improve balance and posture in stroke survivors remains unknown.
Methods & findings
This study reviewed 18 other studies and included information about 503 stroke survivors. Both rTMS and DCS were evaluated.
RTMS was associated with improved treatment outcomes in stroke survivors. These included balance and posture control. DCS did not show any significant effect on the treatment of these patients.
A higher number of rTMS sessions was associated with improvements in balance and postural control.
The bottom line
This study concluded that BS may be a good treatment option to treat impaired balance and postural control in stroke survivors.
The fine print
This analysis included different studies with different protocols. Not all studies mentioned the area of the brain stimulated. Further studies are needed.
Published By :
Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Sep 27, 2019