Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Brain stimulation and constraint for perinatal stroke hemiparesis

Kirton A, Andersen J, Herrero M, Nettel-Aguirre A, Carsolio L, Damji O, Keess  J, Mineyko A, Hodge J, Hill MD. Brain stimulation and constraint for perinatal stroke hemiparesis: The PLASTIC CHAMPS Trial. Neurology. 2016 May 3;86(18):1659-1667.


To determine whether the addition of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and/or constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) to intensive therapy increases motor function in children with perinatal stroke and hemiparesis.

A factorial-design, blinded, randomized controlled trial ( assessed rTMS and CIMT effects in hemiparetic children (aged 6-19 years) with MRI-confirmed perinatal stroke. All completed a 2-week, goal-directed, peer-supported motor learning camp randomized to daily rTMS, CIMT, both, or neither. Primary outcomes were the Assisting Hand Assessment and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure at baseline, and 1 week, 2 and 6 months postintervention. Outcome assessors were blinded to treatment. Interim safety analyses occurred after 12 and 24 participants. Intention-to-treat analysis examined treatment effects over time (linear mixed effects model).

All 45 participants completed the trial. Addition of rTMS, CIMT, or both doubled the chances of clinically significant improvement. Assisting Hand Assessment gains at 6 months were additive and largest with rTMS + CIMT (β coefficient = 5.54 [2.57-8.51], p = 0.0004). The camp alone produced large improvements in Canadian Occupational Performance Measure scores, maximal at 6 months (Cohen d = 1.6, p = 0.002). Quality-of-life scores improved. Interventions were well tolerated and safe with no decrease in function of either hand.

Hemiparetic children participating in intensive, psychosocial rehabilitation programs can achieve sustained functional gains. Addition of CIMT and rTMS increases the chances of improvement.


This study provides Class II evidence that combined rTMS and CIMT enhance therapy-induced functional motor gains in children with stroke-induced hemiparetic cerebral palsy.

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