Noninvasive brain stimulation in neurorehabilitation

Marco Sandrini, Leonardo G Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stroke is the major cause of long-term disability worldwide, with impaired manual dexterity being a common feature. In the past few years, noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), have been investigated as adjuvant strategies to neurorehabilitative interventions. These NIBS techniques can be used to modulate cortical excitability during and for several minutes after the end of the stimulation period. Depending on the stimulation parameters, cortical excitability can be reduced (inhibition) or enhanced (facilitation). Differential modulation of cortical excitability in the affected and unaffected hemisphere of patients with stroke may induce plastic changes within neural networks active during functional recovery. The aims of this chapter are to describe results from these proof-of-principle trials and discuss possible putative mechanisms underlying such effects. Neurophysiological and neuroimaging changes induced by application of NIBS are reviewed briefly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-524
Number of pages26
JournalHandbook of clinical neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Brain
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Stroke
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

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