Boggio PS, Alonso-Alonso M, Mansur CG, Rigonatti SP, Schlaug G, Pascual-Leone A, Fregni F: Hand function improvement with low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of the unaffected hemisphere in a severe case of stroke. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2006;85:927–930.
Previous research has shown that low-frequency rTMS of the unaffected hemisphere can improve motor function in acute and chronic stroke patients. However, these studies only investigated patients with mild or moderate motor deficits. We report a case of a stroke patient with a severe motor impairment who underwent sham and active repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the unaffected hemisphere and had significantly improved motor function after active, but not after sham, stimulation of the unaffected primary motor cortex. In an additional session of active rTMS, this patient maintained and further enhanced the initial motor improvement. This case report shows that inhibitory rTMS of the unaffected hemisphere can also be beneficial for stroke patients with severe motor deficits and suggests that this approach of noninvasive brain stimulation should be further investigated in this population of patients.