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Keywords:

  • brain damage;
  • brain plasticity;
  • feline model of visuospatial neglect;
  • hemispatial neglect;
  • noninvasive neurostimulation;
  • posterior parietal cortex

Abstract

Noninvasive neurostimulation techniques have been used alone or in conjunction with rehabilitation therapy to treat the neurological sequelae of brain damage with rather variable therapeutic outcomes. One potential factor limiting a consistent success for such techniques may be the limited number of sessions carried out in patients, despite reports that their accrual may play a key role in alleviating neurological deficits long-term. In this study, we tested the effects of seventy consecutive sessions of perilesional high-frequency (10 Hz) repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in the treatment of chronic neglect deficits in a well-established feline model of visuospatial neglect. Under identical rTMS parameters and visuospatial testing regimes, half of the subjects improved in visuospatial orienting performance. The other half experienced either none or extremely moderate ameliorations in the neglected hemispace and displayed transient patterns of maladaptive visuospatial behavior. Detailed analyses suggest that lesion location and extent did not account for the behavioral differences observed between these two groups of animals. We conclude that multi-session perilesional rTMS regimes have the potential to induce functional ameliorations following focal chronic brain injury, and that behavioral performance prior to the onset of the rTMS treatment is the factor that best predicts positive outcomes for noninvasive neurostimulation treatments in visuospatial neglect.