Bi-hemispheric transcranial direct current stimulation for upper-limb hemiparesis in acute stroke: a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial

N. Bolognini, C. Russo, M. I. Souza Carneiro, A. Nicotra, E. Olgiati, V. Spandri, E. Agostoni, A. Salmaggi, G. Vallar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and purpose: Neuromodulation is a promising approach to increasing motor recovery in stroke; however, to date, there is a scarcity of evidence documenting the clinical potential of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) administered in the acute phase of stroke. The present study aims to examine the clinical effects of a treatment involving the application of tDCS in the acute stage post-stroke. Methods: This was a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial. A cohort of 32 stroke patients with severe motor impairment underwent 5 days of treatment with real or sham bi-hemispheric tDCS over the motor cortex. During the treatment, tDCS was applied twice per day (two daily applications each of 15 min), starting 48 to 72 h after stroke onset. Results: We found statistically significant improvements after both real and sham tDCS treatments in primary (hand grip strength, Motricity Index) and secondary (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, Barthel Index) outcomes. Patients receiving real tDCS showed a larger improvement of upper-limb muscle strength at the end of treatment phase; this advantage was no longer present after 6 months. Conclusions: Transcranial direct current stimulation may be used to accelerate the rate of upper-limb motor recovery during the spontaneous recovery period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2473-2482
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Volume27
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • acute stroke
  • hemiparesis
  • motor rehabilitation
  • tDCS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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