Malcolm MP, Triggs WJ, Light KE, Gonzalez Rothi LJ, Wu S, Reid K, Nadeau SE: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation as an adjunct to constraint-induced therapy: an exploratory randomized controlled trial. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2007;86:707–715.
Objective: To test the potential adjuvant effect of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on motor learning in a group of stroke survivors undergoing constraint-induced therapy (CIT) for upper-limb hemiparesis.
Design: This was a prospective randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled, parallel group study. Nineteen individuals, one or more years poststroke, were randomized to either a rTMS + CIT (n = 9) or a sham rTMS + CIT (n = 10) group and participated in the 2-wk intervention.
Results: Regardless of group assignment, participants demonstrated significant gains on the primary outcome measures: the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT) and the Motor Activity Log (MAL)–Amount of Use, and on secondary outcome measures including the Box and Block Test (BBT) and the MAL–How Well. Participants receiving rTMS failed to show differential improvement on either primary outcome measure.
Conclusions: Although this study provided further evidence that even relatively brief sessions of CIT can have a substantial effect, it provided no support for adjuvant use of rTMS.