J Stroke.  2020 Jan;22(1):47-63. 10.5853/jos.2019.03027.

Rewiring the Lesioned Brain: Electrical Stimulation for Post-Stroke Motor Restoration

  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  • 2School of Biomedical Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China


Electrical stimulation has been extensively applied in post-stroke motor restoration, but its treatment mechanisms are not fully understood. Stimulation of neuromotor control system at multiple levels manipulates the corresponding neuronal circuits and results in neuroplasticity changes of stroke survivors. This rewires the lesioned brain and advances functional improvement. This review addresses the therapeutic mechanisms of different stimulation modalities, such as noninvasive brain stimulation, peripheral electrical stimulation, and other emerging techniques. The existing applications, the latest progress, and future directions are discussed. The use of electrical stimulation to facilitate post-stroke motor recovery presents great opportunities in terms of targeted intervention and easy applicability. Further technical improvements and clinical studies are required to reveal the neuromodulatory mechanisms and to enhance rehabilitation therapy efficiency in stroke survivors and people with other movement disorders.


Electric stimulation; Stroke; Motor recovery; Transcranial direct current stimulation; Transcranial magnetic stimulation; Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
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