According to a study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, a transcranial magnetic stimulation technique can improve the walking speed of a patient after a stroke. In other words, this technique could speed up the patient’s physical recovery.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) has already been proven to treat fatigue related to multiple sclerosis, severe depression or to reduce the symptoms of anorexia. This technique involves placing a magnetized coil against a specific part of the brain. This makes it possible to inhibit, or on the contrary stimulate, the activity of the neurons. The rTMS works on several sessions.
A new study by American and Chinese researchers suggests that transcranial magnetic stimulation also improves a patient’s physical abilities after a stroke. The results of this research are published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.
To do this, the researchers compiled nine studies (published between 2012 and 2017) about the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on gait, but also on the balance function after a stroke. Among them, seven studies focused on high frequency stimulation, and two on low frequency stimulation.
By analyzing all these results, the researchers concluded that rTMS did indeed increase the walking speed of patients after a stroke. Especially when the researchers were stimulating the part of the brain where the stroke had occurred. On the other hand, with regard to the balance function, there was no improvement to note.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation can then give hope to patients to recover some physical abilities. Each year in the United States, nearly 795,000 people suffer a stroke and 140,000 die as a result of a stroke according to the Centers for Disease Control. Stroke is the leading cause of acquired disability in adults.