Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Despite the high incidence and mortality of stroke, sensitive and specific brain-based biomarkers predicting persisting disabilities are lacking. Both neuroimaging techniques like electroencephalography (EEG) and non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) have proven useful in predicting prognosis, recovery trajectories and response to rehabilitation in individuals with stroke. We propose, however, that additional synergetic effects can be achieved by simultaneously combining both approaches. Combined TMS-EEG is able to activate discrete cortical regions and directly assess local cortical reactivity and effective connectivity within the network independent of the integrity of descending fiber pathways and also outside the motor system. Studying cortical reactivity and connectivity in patients with stroke TMS-EEG may identify salient neural mechanisms underlying motor disabilities and lead to novel biomarkers of stroke pathophysiology which can then be used to assess, monitor, and refine rehabilitation approaches for individuals with significant disability to improve outcomes and quality of life after stroke.
Sato, S., Bergmann, T. O., & Borich, M. R. (2015). Opportunities for concurrent transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography to characterize cortical activity in stroke. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9(MAY). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00250