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Mijic, Marko; Jung, Andres; Schoser, Benedikt; Young, Peter (2022): Use of peripheral electrical stimulation on healthy individual and patients after stroke and its effects on the somatosensory evoked potentials. A systematic review. Frontiers in Neurology, 13. ISSN 1664-2295

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Introduction: To date, a few studies have used somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) to demonstrate cortical sensory changes among healthy subjects or to estimate cortical plasticity and rehabilitation prognosis in stroke patients after peripheral electrical stimulation (PES) intervention. The primary aim was to systematically review whether PES has a role in changing latencies and amplitudes of SEPs in healthy subjects and stroke patients. Moreover, we searched for a correlation between sensory and motor function assessments and changes in SEP components of included studies.

Methods: The following databases were searched: Pubmed/MEDLINE, Scopus/ScienceDirect, Web of Science/Clarivate, Cochrane Library, The Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), and ClinicalTrials.gov. Titles and abstracts, as well as full-text reports, were screened for eligibility by two independent reviewers according to a priori defined eligibility criteria. There were no study limitations concerning the treatment of the upper limb, lower limb, or torso with PES.

Results: The final systematic search resulted in 11,344 records, however only 10 were evaluated. We could not find enough evidence to confirm use of SEP as a predictor to estimate the rehabilitation prognosis after stroke. However, we found a correlation between different sensory and motor function assessments and changes in SEP components. The stroke studies involving PES that initiate a voluntary contraction used for a specific movement or task indicate a positive relationship and correlation to assessments of motor function. It could be indicated that PES have a predictive impact of sensory reorganization, as mirrored by the change in SEP amplitude and latency. However, it is not possible to verify the degree of connectivity between SEP and cortical plasticity. To confirm this hypothesis, we propose the conduction of randomized controlled trials in healthy volunteers and stroke patients.

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