Objective: This study aimed to investigate the effect of robot-assisted gait training (RAGT) therapy combined with non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) on lower limb function in patients with stroke and spinal cord injury (SCI). Data sources: PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ovid MEDLINE, and Web of Science were searched. Study selection: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published as of 3 March 2021. RCTs evaluating RAGT combined with NIBS, such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), for lower limb function (e.g., Fugl-Meyer assessment for patients with stroke) and activities (i.e., gait velocity) in patients with stroke and SCI were included. Data extraction: Two reviewers independently screened the records, extracted the data, and assessed the risk of bias. Data synthesis: A meta-analysis of five studies (104 participants) and risk of bias were conducted. Pooled estimates demonstrated that RAGT combined with NIBS significantly improved lower limb function [standardized mean difference (SMD) = 0.52; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.06–0.99] but not lower limb activities (SMD = −0.13; 95% CI = −0.63–0.38). Subgroup analyses also failed to find a greater improvement in lower limb function of RAGT with tDCS compared to sham stimulation. No significant differences between participant characteristics or types of NIBS were observed. Conclusion: This meta-analysis demonstrated that RAGT therapy in combination with NIBS was effective in patients with stroke and SCI. However, a greater improvement in lower limb function and activities were not observed using RAGT with tDCS compared to sham stimulation.
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