Enhancing the Response to Rehabilitation After Stroke Using Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)


Phase 2 Results N/A

Trial Description

Weakness of the arm and hand results in long-term disability for many persons who suffer a stroke. After the initial recovery phase, only limited gains are achieved by retraining the weak limb to perform daily tasks. However, new treatment strategies such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) show promise for enhancing motor recovery after stroke. rTMS is a noninvasive technique for modifying brain activity that aims to improve motor function by correcting abnormal patterns that occur after stroke. We believe that giving rTMS right before a therapy session will prepare the brain so that the patient is better able to participate in and benefit from training of the hand and arm. The goal of this study is to test how well this new strategy works to improve recovery in people who have mild to moderate weakness of the arm and hand after stroke.
Participants will receive magnetic stimulation of the movement area of the brain just prior to arm and hand training for a series of eight sessions. We will evaluate changes in hand and arm function after the intervention and one month later to see if the changes are maintained. We will also test whether some groups of people benefit more than others from the intervention. If improvements in hand and arm function are observed after the intervention, we will test it more rigourously in a future clinical trial in which participants are randomly assigned to different treatment conditions. This research will show whether brain stimulation can be used to improve the effectiveness of rehabilitation care.



  • Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Device
    Intervention Desc: For real rTMS,1200 pulses will be delivered at a frequency of 1Hz, with an intensity equal to the 115% of the motor threshold as established at baseline. For Sham rTMS, procedures will be identical to those used for real rTMS with the exception that a placebo coil will be used, which provides acoustic and sensory stimulation like the real coil but does not stimulate neural tissue. 20-minute Real and Sham stimulation sessions will be administered bi-weekly for a period of 4 weeks
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: 1
    Description: Real rTMS
    ARM 2: Kind: Experimental
    Label: 2
    Description: Sham rTMS
    ARM 3: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Real rTMS
    Description: Real rTMS - subjects receiving real repetitive TMS - 1Hz over unaffected hemisphere
    ARM 4: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Sham rTMS
    Description: Sham rTMS

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Purpose: Treatment
  • Endpoint: Efficacy Study
  • Intervention: Parallel Assignment


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary The Box and Blocks Test of Manual Dexterity Post-intervention and 1 month later No
Secondary Cortical excitability of the motor system Post-intervention and one month later No