Induction of Neuroplasticity by Brain Stimulation Techniques in Stroke Patients: A Systematic ReviewAuthor(s): Rodriguez Ruiz Laura
Neuronal plasticity is a core mechanism for learning and memory. Many neurological disorders appear after abnormal neuronal plasticity has emerged. Specifically, in stroke patients it affects widespread brain regions through interhemispheric connections by influencing either motor activity or cognitives abilities.
Stroke is one of the principal causes of morbidity and mortality in adults in the developed world and the leading cause of disability. The potential of noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques in stroke rehabilitation has been of particular interest, because of the high incidence of this pathology in all industrialized countries. Survivors can suffer several neurological deficits or impairments, such as hemiparesis, communication disorders, cognitive deficits or disorders in visuo-spatial perception.
Recent research has focused on developing rehabilitation strategies that facilitate neuroplasticity to maximize functional outcome poststroke. This review discusses the evidence for neuroplasticity (structural, synaptic or intrinsic changes that alter neuronal function) of NIBS techniques in stroke patients, such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) or direct current transcranial stimulation (DCTS). Long periods of cortical stimulation can produce lasting effects on brain function, paving the way for therapeutic applications of NIBS in chronic neurological disease.