Objective: The primary aim of this prospective, randomized, sham controlled study was to evaluate the effectiveness of anodal or bihemispheric transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applications on the upper extremity motor functions of patients with stroke. Another aim was to compare the effectiveness of bihemispheric tDCS with anodal tDCS applications.
Methods: Thirty-six patients with stroke were randomly assigned into three groups as anodal tDCS (n:12), bihemispheric tDCS (n:12), or sham tDCS (n:12). All patients participated in a conventional rehabilitation program for 15 days. 31 patient completed study. The plegic upper extremity motor functions were evaluated by Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT), Jebsen-Taylor Test (JTT) and Kocaeli Functional Evaluation Test (KFET).
Results: The anodal tDCS group showed statistically significant improvements in 10 qualitative-8 quantitative parameters (p<0.05 all parameters), and the bihemispheric tDCS group in 8 qualitative-13 quantitative parameters (p<0.05 all parameters) of WMFT. Significant improvements were also obtained in all sub-parameters of KFET and JTT (p<0.05 all parameters) in both the anodal and bihemispheric tDCS groups. Compared with the sham group after the treatment, significant improvements were seen with respect to 5 qualitative parameters of WMFT (p<0.017 for all) and 1 of JTT (p<0.017) in the anodal tDCS group as well as 5 qualitative and 1 quantitative parameters of WMFT (p<0.017 for all), 3 of JTT (p<0.017), and 1 parameter of KFET (p<0.017) in the bihemispheric tDCS group.
Conclusion: When combined with the conventional rehabilitation programs, tDCS provided additional motor functional gains in the plegic upper extremity of stroke patients in this