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May 28, 2021
Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, Ahead of Print. The effects of low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (LF-rTMS) on treating poststroke aphasia (PSA) remain inconclusive. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of LF-rTMS on language function poststroke and determine potential factors that may affect treatment effects. Electronic databases, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library were searched to identify relevant randomized controlled trials (RCTs) concerning the effects of LF-rTMS on language performance poststroke. We adopted fixed- and random-effects models to estimate intervention effects, which were represented by the Hedges’ g and 95% CIs. Subgroup analyses regarding several factors potentially influencing the effects of LF-rTMS on language recovery were also conducted. A total of 14 RCTs involving 374 participants were included in the meta-analysis. The pooled analysis showed the positive and significant effects of LF-rTMS on language function, both short-term (Hedges’ g = 0.65; P < .05) and long-term (Hedges’ g = 0.46; P < .05). Subgroup analyses demonstrated that LF-rTMS for 20 minutes per day over 10 days yielded the largest effect size (Hedges’ g = 1.02; P < .05) and that LF-rTMS significantly improved language performance in the chronic stage after stroke (Hedges’ g = 0.55; P < .05). Patients with different native languages might have diverse responses to LF-rTMS treatment efficacy. Additionally, there were significant improvements in language subtests, including naming, repetition, comprehension, and writing. Overall, this updated meta-analysis demonstrated that LF-rTMS has significant positive effects on PSA, with moderate treatment effects. It provides additional evidence to support LF-rTMS as a promising complementary therapy to promote language recovery in PSA.

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Author: Zhongqiu Hong