Authors: Cheng IKY, Chan KMK, Wong CS, Cheung RTF
Title: Preliminary evidence of the effects of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on swallowing functions in post-stroke individuals with chronic dysphagia
Source: International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 2015 50(3): 389-396
Year: 2015
Research Design: Single Case Design

Background:There is growing evidence of potential benefits of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in the rehabilitation of dysphagia. However, the site and frequency of stimulation for optimal effects are not clear. Aims:The aim of this pilot study is to investigate the short-term effects of high-frequency 5 Hz rTMS applied to the tongue region of the motor cortex on swallowing functions and the quality of life of post-stroke individuals with dysphagia. Methods & Procedures: Two male and two female participants were assigned randomly to active and sham groups. The participants in the active group received 10 sessions of active rTMS for 2 weeks, whereas the sham participants received 10 sessions of sham rTMS for 2 weeks. Each participant received a total of 3000 pulses of 5 Hz active or sham rTMS per day for 10 days. Outcome measures were taken at baseline, 1 week and 1 month post-rTMS. Outcomes & Results: Participants who received active rTMS had improved swallowing functions and swallowing-related quality of life at 1 week and 1 month post-stimulation. Conclusions & Implications: The study showed that excitatory rTMS applied over the tongue motor cortex is a feasible approach in individuals with chronic post-stroke dysphagia. Further investigation with larger sample population is warranted to support the benefit of this stimulation protocol.

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