One session of repeated parietal theta burst stimulation trains induces long-lasting improvement of visual neglect.
Nyffeler T., Cazzoli D., Hess CW., Müri RM.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Visual neglect is a frequent disability in stroke and adversely affects mobility, discharge destination, and length of hospital stay. It is assumed that its severity is enhanced by a released interhemispheric inhibition from the unaffected toward the affected hemisphere. Continuous theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation (TBS) is a new inhibitory brain stimulation protocol which has the potential to induce behavioral effects outlasting stimulation. We aimed to test whether parietal TBS over the unaffected hemisphere can induce a long-lasting improvement of visual neglect by reducing the interhemispheric inhibition. METHODS: Eleven patients with left-sided visual neglect attributable to right hemispheric stroke were tested in a visual perception task. To evaluate the specificity of the TBS effect, 3 conditions were tested: 2 TBS trains over the left contralesional posterior parietal cortex, 2 trains of sham stimulation over the contralesional posterior parietal cortex, and a control condition without any intervention. To evaluate the lifetime of repeated trains of TBS in 1 session, 4 trains were applied over the contralesional posterior parietal cortex. RESULTS: Two TBS trains significantly increased the number of perceived left visual targets for up to 8 hours as compared to baseline. No significant improvement was found with sham stimulation or in the control condition without any intervention. The application of 4 TBS trains significantly increased the number of perceived left targets up to 32 hours. CONCLUSIONS: The new approach of repeating TBS at the same day may be promising for therapy of neglect.