High-Frequency rTMS Combined With Task-Specific Hand Motor Training Modulates Corticospinal Plasticity in Motor Complete Spinal Cord Injury: A Case Report

SOURCE: Annual International Conference Of The IEEE Engineering In Medicine And Biology Society. 2022:2385-2389, 2022 Jul.

AUTHORS: Brihmat N; Bayram MB; Allexandre D; Saleh S; Yue GH; Guan X; Zhong J; Forrest GF

ABSTRACT: Since its first use in spinal cord injury (SCI) in the early 2000s [1], high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (HF-rTMS) demonstrated a capacity to modulate corticospinal excitability (CSE) and motor performance. Studies focused on individuals with incomplete SCI. Here, we examined the feasibility of a 15-day therapeutic stimulation protocol combining HF-rTMS with task-specific motor training targeting the weaker hand in an individual with early chronic complete SCI. In this case report, we present evidence of progressive increase of CSE at rest and during muscle activation, and decreased cortical inhibition, associated with a trend toward improvement in pinch function of the weaker hand. These promising findings need to be confirmed in a larger population.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: These preliminary results are promising and demonstrate the importance of a large number of training session repetitions to induce consistent changes relevant to the recovery after a complete SCI.