Electroencephalogram (EEG) With or Without Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as Biomarkers for Post-stroke Recovery: A Narrative Review

Zafer Keser, Samuel C. Buchl, Nathan A. Seven, Matej Markota, Heather M. Clark, David T. Jones, Giuseppe Lanzino, Robert D. Brown, Gregory A. Worrell, Brian N. Lundstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability. Despite the high prevalence of stroke, characterizing the acute neural recovery patterns that follow stroke and predicting long-term recovery remains challenging. Objective methods to quantify and characterize neural injury are still lacking. Since neuroimaging methods have a poor temporal resolution, EEG has been used as a method for characterizing post-stroke recovery mechanisms for various deficits including motor, language, and cognition as well as predicting treatment response to experimental therapies. In addition, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a form of non-invasive brain stimulation, has been used in conjunction with EEG (TMS-EEG) to evaluate neurophysiology for a variety of indications. TMS-EEG has significant potential for exploring brain connectivity using focal TMS-evoked potentials and oscillations, which may allow for the system-specific delineation of recovery patterns after stroke. In this review, we summarize the use of EEG alone or in combination with TMS in post-stroke motor, language, cognition, and functional/global recovery. Overall, stroke leads to a reduction in higher frequency activity (≥8 Hz) and intra-hemispheric connectivity in the lesioned hemisphere, which creates an activity imbalance between non-lesioned and lesioned hemispheres. Compensatory activity in the non-lesioned hemisphere leads mostly to unfavorable outcomes and further aggravated interhemispheric imbalance. Balanced interhemispheric activity with increased intrahemispheric coherence in the lesioned networks correlates with improved post-stroke recovery. TMS-EEG studies reveal the clinical importance of cortical reactivity and functional connectivity within the sensorimotor cortex for motor recovery after stroke. Although post-stroke motor studies support the prognostic value of TMS-EEG, more studies are needed to determine its utility as a biomarker for recovery across domains including language, cognition, and hemispatial neglect. As a complement to MRI-based technologies, EEG-based technologies are accessible and valuable non-invasive clinical tools in stroke neurology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number827866
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - Feb 22 2022


  • EEG
  • functional connectivity
  • recovery
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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