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Ottawa scientist behind recommendations for the use of non-invasive brain stimulation in stroke rehabilitation


Jodi Edwards, PhD, Director of the Brain and Heart Nexus Research Program at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) and Investigator at Bruyère Research Institute is the principal author of five innovative recommendations and a checklist to improve preclinical and clinical stroke research using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (NIBS).

The research, published today in a special edition of the International Journal of Stroke, is the result of a year-long five stage consensus process involving 18 international multidisciplinary experts from eight countries. This third Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable, an initiative of the International Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Alliance, has made a series of key recommendations about managing fatigue, measuring mobility, harnessing non-invasive brain stimulation technologies, and improving how clinical trials are designed. The NIBS group was co-chaired by Edwards and Numa Dancause, PhD, of the Université de Montréal.

The Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtables (SRRR) sought to collectively advance the science of stroke recovery globally. Similar to the previous two SRRRs, the third roundtables (SRRR3) addressed four topic areas, including outcomes of mobility, fatigue after stroke, control intervention, and non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS).

In their research, titled A Translational Roadmap for Transcranial Magnetic and Direct Current Stimulation in Stroke Rehabilitation: Consensus Based Core Recommendations from the Third Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable, the authors address barriers to translating preclinical and clinical research into clinical practice using transcranial magnetic (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), two of the most common non-invasive brain stimulation methods with established safety profiles.

NIBS technologies, and specifically repetitive TMS and tDCS, have a long history of experimental and clinical evidence supporting they are safe and can induce rapid and reproducible effects on the brain. Importantly, these techniques show promising potential therapeutic benefits for the improvement of multiple post-stroke deficits.

“However, several major translational barriers have limited their advancement as a clinical tool for stroke recovery,” said Edwards. “The consensus recommendations and SRRR3 Unified NIBS Checklist developed by this roundtable are designed to address these outstanding barriers and provide a roadmap for the integration of TMS and tDCS technologies into clinical practice for stroke rehabilitation.”

The recommendations were launched at a special symposium at the 15th World Stroke Congress in Toronto on October 12.


In the news:
Can non-invasive brain stimulation improve stroke recovery? Ottawa researchers think so
Ottawa Citizen - November 21, 2023