Transcranial brain stimulation in post-stroke swallowing rehabilitation

Sebastian Doeltgen, Rebecca Mossop, Debra Verner, Alicia Wallace

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) affect up to 70% of stroke patients and can severely impact physical, nutritional and social well-being. Increasingly, the potential of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) or transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is being explored to maximise swallowing rehabilitation outcomes. Using a systematic approach, we evaluated the volume and quality of this research. Methods: Databases including MEDLINE, AMED, Scopus and Science Direct were searched for relevant articles and their reference lists consulted for further studies. The quality of the scientific design of each included study was critically appraised using a modified McMaster University appraisal tool and a Level of Evidence score (I-IV) based on NHMRC criteria was assigned. The research question was: “In patients with dysphagia following stroke, can transcranial brain stimulation improve measures of swallowing function?” Results: Eight studies were appraised [rTMS (4), tDCS (3)and paired associative stimulation (1)]. Scores for methodological quality ranged from12.5/20 to 17.5/20. Six studies provided Level II evidence, one study provided Level IIIa evidence and one study provided Level IV evidence to support the rehabilitative potential of the studied technique. Conclusion: Emerging evidence supports the potential usefulness of non-invasive brain stimulation as an adjunct to swallowing rehabilitation. However, empirical support is limited due to the small number of studies evaluating each of the various stimulation paradigms. Additional high-quality studies are required in order to determine the safety and efficacy of brain stimulation paradigms in assisting recovery of swallowing function following stroke.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
    EventANS Sensorimotor Satellite Meeting - University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
    Duration: 1 Feb 2014 → …


    ConferenceANS Sensorimotor Satellite Meeting
    Period1/02/14 → …


    • Transcranial
    • Brain
    • Stimulaion
    • post-stroke
    • swallowing
    • rehabilitation


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