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STUDY DESIGN: Preliminary longitudinal clinical trial. OBJECTIVES: To test the efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in modulating corticospinal inhibition and improving recovery in stable incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI). SETTING: National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Bucks, UK and Division of Neuroscience, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital, London, UK. METHODS: Four stable iSCI patients were treated with rTMS over the occipital cortex (sham treatment) and then over the motor cortex (real treatment). Patients were assessed using electrophysiological, clinical and functional measures before treatment, during sham treatment, during the therapeutic treatment and during a 3-week follow-up period. RESULTS: Cortical inhibition was reduced during the treatment week. Perceptual threshold to electrical stimulation of the skin, ASIA clinical measures of motor and sensory function and time to complete a peg-board improved and remained improved into the follow-up period. CONCLUSION: In this preliminary trial, rTMS has been shown to alter cortical inhibition in iSCI and improve the clinical and functional outcome. SPONSORSHIP: This work was supported by the International Spinal Research Trust.

Original publication




Journal article


Spinal Cord

Publication Date





417 - 419


Adult, Electric Stimulation Therapy, Electromyography, Female, Humans, Magnetics, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Activity, Neural Inhibition, Pain Threshold, Spinal Cord Injuries, Treatment Outcome