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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 584727, 10 pages
Review Article

Noninvasive Brain Stimulation for Motor Recovery after Stroke: Mechanisms and Future Views

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Tohoku University School of Medicine, 2-1 Seiryo-cho, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan

Received 20 July 2012; Accepted 29 August 2012

Academic Editor: Claudia Altamura

Copyright © 2012 Naoyuki Takeuchi and Shin-Ichi Izumi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation are noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques that can alter excitability of the human cortex. Considering the interhemispheric competition occurring after stroke, improvement in motor deficits can be achieved by increasing the excitability of the affected hemisphere or decreasing the excitability of the unaffected hemisphere. Many reports have shown that NIBS application improves motor function in stroke patients by using their physiological peculiarity. For continuous motor improvement, it is important to impart additional motor training while NIBS modulates the neural network between both hemispheres and remodels the disturbed network in the affected hemisphere. NIBS can be an adjuvant therapy for developed neurorehabilitation strategies for stroke patients. Moreover, recent studies have reported that bilateral NIBS can more effectively facilitate neural plasticity and induce motor recovery after stroke. However, the best NIBS pattern has not been established, and clinicians should select the type of NIBS by considering the NIBS mechanism. Here, we review the underlying mechanisms and future views of NIBS therapy and propose rehabilitation approaches for appropriate cortical reorganization.