This study investigated the synergistic effects of scalp acupuncture (SA) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), known to be effective for cerebral infarction. This outcome-assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trial included a per-protocol analysis to compare the efficacy of SA and electromagnetic convergence stimulation (SAEM-CS) and single or no stimulation.
The trial was conducted with 42 cerebral infarction patients (control group, 12; SA group, 11; rTMS group, 8; SAEM-CS group, 11). All patient groups underwent two sessions of CSRT per day. SA, rTMS, and SAEM-CS were conducted once per day, 5 days per week, for 3 weeks. The primary outcome was evaluated using the Fugl–Mayer assessment (FMA). FMA Upper Extremity, FMA total, MBI, and FIM scores significantly increased in the rTMS group compared with the control group. Additionally, FMA Upper Extremity, FMA total, MBI and FIM scores significantly increased in the rTMS group compared with the SAEM-CS group.
However, there were no significant changes in the SA or SAEM-CS groups. In conclusion, low-frequency rTMS in the contralesional hemisphere may have long-term therapeutic effects on upper extremity motor function recovery and improvements in activities of daily living. SAEM-CS did not show positive synergistic effects of SA and rTMS.
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