Guidelines on use of brain stimulation for stroke recovery released at World Stroke Congress in Toronto

Two Canadian research leaders chaired international roundtable that developed recommendations for preclinical and clinical research

OTTAWA, Oct. 12 _ Five innovative recommendations and a checklist will improve preclinical and clinical stroke research using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (NIBS), according to a global study published today in the International Journal of Stroke.

Presented for the first time this afternoon during a special session at the World Stroke Congress in Toronto, new guidelines focus on managing fatigue, measuring mobility, harnessing NIBS technologies, and improving how clinical trials are designed.

Developed after a year-long consensus process involving 18 international experts from eight countries as part of the third Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable, the ultimate goal of this work is to improve outcomes for people recovering from stroke, including hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Dr. Jodi Edwards, director of the Brain and Heart Nexus Research Program at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and an affiliated investigator at Bruyère Research Institute, and Dr. Numa Dancause of the Université de Montréal, co-chaired the NIBS roundtable group. Drs Edwards and Dancause are also principal investigators of the Canadian Platform for Research in Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation (CanStim).

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,” says Dr. 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 Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable, which involved three distinct panels, was organized by the International Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Alliance (ISRRA), based in Australia.

Read the Roundtable publications here:

Read the ISRRA news release on the Roundtable recommendations here: