In this project, we will assess the effects of aerobic exercise training (AET), repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) or their combination on symptoms of depression as well as walking function in persons following stroke. Both of these treatments are known to be beneficial for treating depression in individuals without stroke, though neither has been adequately studied post-stroke. Furthermore, substantive studies show that exercise improves post-stroke walking function, thus offering a way to study the effects of depression on response to rehabilitation following stroke.
Weakness on one side of the body is seen in three-quarters of individuals following stroke. Weakness in this population results from both neural and muscular factors which include, respectively, the ability of the central nervous system to activate skeletal muscle as well as the force generating capacity of the muscle. Our overall goal is to improve walking in persons post-stroke by training subjects with an intervention that specifically targets these impairments, thereby facilitating locomotor recovery.