A review on the effectiveness of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on post-stroke aphasia

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Background: This evidence-based review reports an updated evaluation and critical appraisal of available studies that investigated the effectiveness of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on post-stroke aphasia rehabilitation. Methods: A literature search was performed to identify studies that investigated the therapeutic effects of rTMS on post-stroke aphasia in various electronic databases, from their inception to 2011. The selected studies were classified according to the types of participants, types of interventions, outcome measures, and results. The methodological qualities of the selected studies were evaluated using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. Results: The current review was based on 12 studies, including open-label designs and controlled trials, that showed a positive effect of rTMS, with or without conventional rehabilitation, on post-stroke aphasia compared with sham or conventional rehabilitation alone. About 41% of the selected studies reported the long-term effect of rTMS on aphasia recovery. No adverse effect was reported. Conclusions: The current review reveals that rTMS with or without conventional rehabilitation has positive effects on post-stroke aphasia. The studies also contributed to the plausible mechanisms of stroke recovery. However, with the concerns over the methodology of the selected studies in this review, a larger-scale, multicenter, well-designed randomized controlled trial involving different phases and types of aphasia needs to be carried out before recommending rTMS as a complementary treatment for post-stroke aphasia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-114
Number of pages10
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • Aphasia
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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