Research Highlights

Combo therapy improves stroke recovery

Published online 6 October 2010

Mohammed Yahia

Stroke is the leading cause of chronic disability in adults worldwide, resulting from an interrupted blood supply to the brain that prevents the affected area there from functioning. In the early stages, the brain can rewire itself to compensate for this ischaemic injury, limiting the physical consequences of stroke on limbs. In the chronic phase of the stroke, few structural changes occur.

A team of researchers, including Gharib Fawi from Sohag University, Egypt, studied the effect of physical training of the affected limbs and non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation.

The scientists found that using either of the two methods alone yielded limited success. However, combining both treatments resulted in improved movement of the wrist and fingers, increased igrip, and a reduced tightness of the muscles. The long-term safety and effectiveness of this new combined intervention method was accessed for 12 treatments over a 6-week period.

The paper suggests that this combined approach could be useful in improving a stroke patient's quality of life. It might also be a cost-effective approach, since the session lasts 15 minutes, without the need hospital admissions like other intervention methods, such as neurocognitive rehabilitation which may require a period of hospitalization.


  1. Koganemaru, S. et al. Recovery of upper-limb function due to enhanced use-dependent plasticity in chronic stroke patients. Brain. 5 August 2010. doi: 10.1093/brain/awq193