Noninvasive and Painless Magnetic Stimulation of Nerves Improved Brain Motor Function and Mobility in a Cerebral Palsy Case

  • Véronique H. Flamand
    Corresponding author Véronique H. Flamand, OT, MSc, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec, Axe Neurosciences, 2705 boul. Laurier, RC-9800, Québec, QC, Canada, G1V 4G2.
    Neuroscience Division, CHU de Québec Research Center, Québec, QC, Canada

    Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada
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  • Cyril Schneider
    Neuroscience Division, CHU de Québec Research Center, Québec, QC, Canada

    Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada
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      Motor deficits in cerebral palsy disturb functional independence. This study tested whether noninvasive and painless repetitive peripheral magnetic stimulation could improve motor function in a 7-year-old boy with spastic hemiparetic cerebral palsy. Stimulation was applied over different nerves of the lower limbs for 5 sessions. We measured the concurrent aftereffects of this intervention on ankle motor control, gait (walking velocity, stride length, cadence, cycle duration), and function of brain motor pathways. We observed a decrease of ankle plantar flexors resistance to stretch, an increase of active dorsiflexion range of movement, and improvements of corticospinal control of ankle dorsiflexors. Joint mobility changes were still present 15 days after the end of stimulation, when all gait parameters were also improved. Resistance to stretch was still lower than prestimulation values 45 days after the end of stimulation. This case illustrates the sustained effects of repetitive peripheral magnetic stimulation on brain plasticity, motor function, and gait. It suggests a potential impact for physical rehabilitation in cerebral palsy.


      List of abbreviations:

      AMT (active motor threshold), CP (cerebral palsy), MEP (motor-evoked potential), MVC (maximal voluntary contraction), M1 (primary motor cortex), PNS (peripheral nerve stimulation), rPMS (repetitive peripheral magnetic stimulation), TA (tibialis anterior), TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation)
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