Posts Tagged tDCS

[Abstract] Functional Brain Stimulation in a Chronic Stroke Survivor With Moderate Impairment  

Abstract

OBJECTIVE. To determine the impact of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with repetitive, task-specific training (RTP) on upper-extremity (UE) impairment in a chronic stroke survivor with moderate impairment.

METHOD. The participant was a 54-yr-old woman with chronic, moderate UE hemiparesis after a single stroke that had occurred 10 yr before study enrollment. She participated in 45-min RTP sessions 3 days/wk for 8 wk. tDCS was administered concurrent to the first 20 min of each RTP session.

RESULTS. Immediately after intervention, the participant demonstrated marked score increases on the UE section of the Fugl–Meyer Scale and the Motor Activity Log (on both the Amount of Use and the Quality of Movement subscales).

CONCLUSION. These data support the use of tDCS combined with RTP to decrease impairment and increase UE use in chronic stroke patients with moderate impairment. This finding is crucial, given the paucity of efficacious treatment approaches in this impairment level.

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Source: Functional Brain Stimulation in a Chronic Stroke Survivor With Moderate Impairment | American Journal of Occupational Therapy

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[ARTICLE] Effect of tDCS stimulation of motor cortex and cerebellum on EEG classification of motor imagery and sensorimotor band power – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a technique for brain modulation that has potential to be used in motor neurorehabilitation. Considering that the cerebellum and motor cortex exert influence on the motor network, their stimulation could enhance motor functions, such as motor imagery, and be utilized for brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) during motor neurorehabilitation.

Methods

A new tDCS montage that influences cerebellum and either right-hand or feet motor area is proposed and validated with a simulation of electric field. The effect of current density (0, 0.02, 0.04 or 0.06 mA/cm2) on electroencephalographic (EEG) classification into rest or right-hand/feet motor imagery was evaluated on 5 healthy volunteers for different stimulation modalities: 1) 10-minutes anodal tDCS before EEG acquisition over right-hand or 2) feet motor cortical area, and 3) 4-seconds anodal tDCS during EEG acquisition either on right-hand or feet cortical areas before each time right-hand or feet motor imagery is performed. For each subject and tDCS modality, analysis of variance and Tukey-Kramer multiple comparisons tests (p <0.001) are used to detect significant differences between classification accuracies that are obtained with different current densities. For tDCS modalities that improved accuracy, t-tests (p <0.05) are used to compare μ and βband power when a specific current density is provided against the case of supplying no stimulation.

Results

The proposed montage improved the classification of right-hand motor imagery for 4 out of 5 subjects when the highest current was applied for 10 minutes over the right-hand motor area. Although EEG band power changes could not be related directly to classification improvement, tDCS appears to affect variably different motor areas on μ and/or β band.

Conclusions

The proposed montage seems capable of enhancing right-hand motor imagery detection when the right-hand motor area is stimulated. Future research should be focused on applying higher currents over the feet motor cortex, which is deeper in the brain compared to the hand motor cortex, since it may allow observation of effects due to tDCS. Also, strategies for improving analysis of EEG respect to accuracy changes should be implemented.

Background

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a noninvasive technique for brain stimulation where direct current is supplied through two or more electrodes in order to modulate temporally brain excitability [12]. This technique has shown potential to improve motor performance and motor learning [345]. Hence, it could be applied in motor neurorehabilitacion [1]. However, tDCS effects vary depending on several factors, such as the size or position of the stimulation electrodes and the current intensity that is applied [6] or the mental state of the user [7]. Therefore, it should be considered that outcomes of tDCS studies are the result of different affected brain networks that may be involved in attention and movements, among other processes.

Volitional locomotion requires automatic control of movement while the cerebral cortex provides commands that are transmitted by neural projections toward the brainstem and the spinal cord. This control involves predictive motor operations that link activity from the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, basal ganglia and brainstem in order to modify actions at the spinal cord level [8]. In general, this set of structures can be considered to form a motor network that allow voluntary movement.

Different parts of the cerebral cortex participate in the performance of self-initiated movement, like the supplementary motor (SMA), the primary motor (M1) and premotor (PM) areas. It is known that M1 is activated during motor execution. Excitatory effects of M1 have been studied with anodal stimulation [6], finding that activation of this region is related to higher motor evoked potentials (MEPs) and an increment of force movement on its associated body part area [910]. Moreover, M1 seems to be critical in the early phase of consolidation of motor skills during procedural motor learning [11], i.e., the implicit skill acquisition through the repeated practice of a task [12].

In addition, the SMA and PM influence M1 in order to program opportune precise motor commands when movement pattern is modified intentionally, based on information from temporoparietal cortices regarding to the body’s state [8]. The SMA contributes in the generation of anticipatory postural adjustments [13]. Consequently, its facilitatory stimulation seems to increase anticipatory postural adjustments amplitudes, to reduce the time required to perform movements during the learning task of sequential movements, and to produce early initiation of motor responses [141516]. These studies suggest the possibility of using SMA excitation during treatments for motor disorders, since hemiparesis after stroke involves the impairment of anticipatory motor control at the affected limb [17]. In addition, some studies propose the participation of the SMA in motor memory and both implicit and explicit motor learning [18192021], i.e, when new information is acquired without intending to do so and when acquisition of skill is conscious [22], respectively. Complimentary to the role of SMA, the PM is crucial for sensory-guided movement initiation and the consolidation of motor sequence learning during sleep [823], while its facilitation with anodal tDCS seems to enhance the excitability from the ipsilateral M1 [24], which may be useful for treatment of PM disorders.

As previously mentioned, the cerebellum is also involved in locomotion through the regulation of motor processes by influencing the cerebral cortex, among other neural structures. During adaptive control of movement, as in the gait process, it seems that loops that interconnect reciprocally motor cortical areas to the basal ganglia and cerebellum allow predictive control of locomotion and they exhibit correlation with movement parameters [825]. Regarding to studies about cerebellar stimulation, there is still not enough knowledge about the effects of tDCS on different neuronal populations and the afferent pathways, so results are variable among studies and their interpretation is more complex than for cerebral tDCS [26]. Furthermore, the topographical motor organization of the cerebellum is not clear yet [27]. Nevertheless, most studies base their experimental procedure on the existence of decussating cerebello-cerebral connections, even if there are also ipsilateral cerebello-cerebral tracts or inter-hemispheric cerebellar connections [28]. Hence, a cerebellar hemisphere is stimulated to affect cerebellar brain inhibition (CBI), which refers to the inherent suppression of cerebellum over the contralateral M1 [29]. For example, the supply of anodal and cathodal stimulation over the right cerebellum in [30] resulted in incremental and decremental CBI on the left M1, respectively. In contrast, there are some studies that suggest this expectation may be not always appropriate. In [31] it was shown that inhibitory transcranial magnetic stimulation (a stimulation technique that provides magnetic field pulses on the brain [32]) over the lateral right cerebellum led to procedural learning decrement for tasks performed with either the right or left hand, whereas inhibition of lateral left cerebellar hemisphere decreased learning only with the left hand. In addition, results from [33] showed that cathodal cerebellar tDCS worsened locomotor adaptation ipsilaterally. These two studies may provide a reference for using cerebellar inhibition for avoiding undesired brain activity changes during motor rehabilitation, such as compensatory movement habits that might contribute to maladaptative plasticity and hamper the goal of achieving a normal movement pattern [34]. […]

Continue —> Effect of tDCS stimulation of motor cortex and cerebellum on EEG classification of motor imagery and sensorimotor band power | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

Fig. 1 tDCS montage. Scheme of tDCS electrodes position in reference to EEG electrodes and inion (left), and placement of tDCS electrodes on the EEG cap (right). Electrodes 1,2 and 3 are highlighted in red, green and blue, respectively

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[Abstract] Spasticity Management: The Current State of Transcranial Neuromodulation

Abstract

This narrative review aims to provide an objective view of the non-invasive neuromodulation (NINM) protocols available for treating spasticity, including repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). On the basis of the relevant randomized controlled trials, we infer that NINM is more effective in reducing spasticity when combined with the conventional therapies than used as a stand-alone treatment. However, the magnitude of NINM aftereffects depends significantly on the applied hemisphere and the underlying pathology. Being in line with these arguments, low-frequency rTMS and cathodal-tDCS over the unaffected hemisphere are more effective in reducing spasticity than high-frequency rTMS and anodal-tDCS over the affected hemisphere in chronic post-stroke. However, most of the studies are heterogeneous in the stimulation setup, patient selection, follow-up duration, and the availability of the sham operation. Therefore, the available data on the usefulness of NINM in reducing spasticity need to be confirmed by further larger and multicentric randomized controlled trials to gather evidence on the efficiency of NINM regimens in reducing spasticity in various neurologic conditions.

Source: Spasticity Management: The Current State of Transcranial Neuromodulation

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[Abstract] The treatment of fatigue by non-invasive brain stimulation

Summary

The use of non-invasive brain neurostimulation (NIBS) techniques to treat neurological or psychiatric diseases is currently under development. Fatigue is a commonly observed symptom in the field of potentially treatable pathologies by NIBS, yet very little data has been published regarding its treatment. We conducted a review of the literature until the end of February 2017 to analyze all the studies that reported a clinical assessment of the effects of NIBS techniques on fatigue. We have limited our analysis to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). We found only 15 studies on this subject, including 8 tDCS studies and 7 rTMS studies. Of the tDCS studies, 6 concerned patients with multiple sclerosis while 6 rTMS studies concerned fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. The remaining 3 studies included patients with post-polio syndrome, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Three cortical regions were targeted: the primary sensorimotor cortex, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the posterior parietal cortex. In all cases, tDCS protocols were performed according to a bipolar montage with the anode over the cortical target. On the other hand, rTMS protocols consisted of either high-frequency phasic stimulation or low-frequency tonic stimulation. The results available to date are still too few, partial and heterogeneous as to the methods applied, the clinical profile of the patients and the variables studied (different fatigue scores) in order to draw any conclusion. However, the effects obtained, especially in multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia, are really carriers of therapeutic hope.

Source: The treatment of fatigue by non-invasive brain stimulation

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[Abstract+References] Combined Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Vision Restoration Training in Subacute Stroke Rehabilitation: A Pilot Study

Abstract

Background

Visual field defects after posterior cerebral artery stroke can be improved by vision restoration training (VRT), but when combined with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which alters brain excitability, vision recovery can be potentiated in the chronic stage. To date, the combination of VRT and tDCS has not been evaluated in postacute stroke rehabilitation.

Objectives

To determine whether combined tDCS and VRT can be effectively implemented in the early recovery phase following stroke, and to explore the feasibility, safety and efficacy of an early intervention.

Design

Open-label pilot study including a case series of 7 tDCS/VRT versus a convenience sample of 7 control patients (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT02935413).

Setting

Rehabilitation center.

Subjects

Patients with homonymous visual field defects following a posterior cerebral artery stroke.

Methods

Seven homonymous hemianopia patients were prospectively treated with 10 sessions of combined tDCS (2.mA, 10 daily sessions of 20 minutes) and VRT at 66 (±50) days on average poststroke. Visual field recovery was compared with the retrospective data of 7 controls, whose defect sizes and age of lesions were matched to those of the experimental subjects and who had received standard rehabilitation with compensatory eye movement and exploration training.

Results

All 7 patients in the treatment group completed the treatment protocol. The safety and acceptance were excellent, and patients reported occasional skin itching beneath the electrodes as the only minor side effect. Irrespective of their treatment, both groups (treatment and control) showed improved visual fields as documented by an increased mean sensitivity threshold in decibels in standard static perimetry. Recovery was significantly greater (P < .05) in the tDCS/VRT patients (36.73% ± 37.0%) than in the controls (10.74% ± 8.86%).

Conclusion

In this open-label pilot study, tDCS/VRT in subacute stroke was demonstrated to be safe, with excellent applicability and acceptance of the treatment. Preliminary effectiveness calculations show that tDCS/VRT may be superior to standard vision training procedures. A confirmatory, larger-sample, controlled, randomized, and double-blind trial is now underway to compare real-tDCS− versus sham-tDCS−supported visual field training in the early vision rehabilitation phase.

References

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  9. Sabel, B.A., Henrich-Noack, P., Fedorov, A., Gall, C. Vision restoration after brain and retina damage: The “residual vision activation theory”. Prog Brain Res. 2011;192:199–262.
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  18. Kasten, E., Bunzenthal, U., Sabel, B.A. Visual field recovery after vision restoration therapy (VRT) is independent of eye movements: An eye tracker study. Behav Brain Res. 2006;175:18–26.
  19. Nitsche, M.A., Schauenburg, A., Lang, N. et al, Facilitation of implicit motor learning by weak transcranial direct current stimulation of the primary motor cortex in the human. J Cogn Neurosci. 2003;15:619–626.
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Source: Combined Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Vision Restoration Training in Subacute Stroke Rehabilitation: A Pilot Study – PM&R

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[ARTICLE] Notes on Human Trials of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation between 1960 and 1998 – Full Text

Background: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is investigated to modulate neuronal function including cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychiatric therapies. While cases of human stimulation with rudimentary batteries date back more than 200 years, clinical trials with current controlled stimulation were published intermittently since the 1960s. The modern era of tDCS only started after 1998.

Objectives: To review methods and outcomes of tDCS studies from old literature (between 1960 and 1998) with intention of providing new insight for ongoing tDCS trials and development of tDCS protocols especially for the purpose of treatment.

Methods: Articles were identified through a search in PubMed and through the reference list from its selected articles. We included only non-invasive human studies that provided controlled direct current and were written in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese before the year of 1998, the date in which modern stimulation paradigms were implemented.

Results: Fifteen articles met our criteria. The majority were small-randomized controlled clinical trials that enrolled a mean of approximately 26 subjects (Phase II studies). Most of the studies (around 83%) assessed the role of tDCS in the treatment of psychiatric conditions, in which the main outcomes were measured by means of behavioral scales and clinical observation, but the diagnostic precision and the quality of outcome monitoring, including adverse events, were deficient by modern standards. Compared to modern tDCS dose, the stimulation intensities used (0.1–1 mA) were lower, however as the electrodes were typically smaller (e.g., 1.26 cm2), the average electrode current density (0.2 mA/cm2) was approximately 4× higher. The number of sessions ranged from one to 120 (median 14). Notably, the stimulation session durations of several minutes to 11 h (median 4.5 h) could markedly exceed modern tDCS protocols. Twelve studies out of 15 showed positive results. Only mild side effects were reported, with headache and skin alterations the most common.

Conclusion: Most of the studies identified were for psychiatric indications, especially in patients with depression and/or schizophrenia and majority indicated some positive results. Variability in outcome is noted across trials and within trials across subjects, but overall results were reported as encouraging, and consistent with modern efforts, given some responders and mild side effects. The significant difference with modern dose, low current with smaller electrode size and interestingly much longer stimulation duration may worth considering.

Introduction

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) consists of applying a weak direct current on the scalp, a portion of which crosses the skull (Datta et al., 2009) and induces cortical changes (Fregni and Pascual-Leone, 2007; Nitsche et al., 2008). The investigation of the application of electricity over the brain dates back to at least 200 years, when Giovanni Aldini (Zaghi et al., 2010) recommended galvanism for patients with deafness, amaurosis and “insanity”, reporting good results with this technique especially when used in patients with “melancholia”. Aldini also used tDCS in patients with symptoms of personality disorders and supposedly reported complete rehabilitation following transcranial administration of electric current (Parent, 2004).

These earliest studies used rudimentary batteries and so were constant voltage, where the resulting current depends on a variable body resistance. Over the 20th century, direct voltage continued to be used but most testing involved pulsed stimulation, starting with basic devices where a mechanical circuit that intermittently connected and broke the circuit between the battery and the subject and evolving to modern current control circuits including Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation and its variants (Guleyupoglu et al., 2013). Interest in direct current stimulation (or tDCS) resurged with the studies of Priori et al. (1998) and Nitsche and Paulus (2000) that demonstrated weak direct current could change cortical response to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, thereby indicating that tDCS could change cortical “excitability”. Testing for clinical and cognitive modification soon followed (Fregni et al., 2005, 2006). Developments and challenges in tDCS research, including applications in the treatment of neuro-psychiatrics disease since 1998 have been reviewed in detailed elsewhere (Brunoni et al., 2012).

This historical note aims to explore earlier data on human trial using current controlled stimulation (tDCS) before 1998 with the goal of informing ongoing understanding and development of tDCS protocols. As expected, we found variability in the quality of trial design, data collection and reporting in these earlier studies. Nonetheless, many clinical findings are broadly consistent with modern efforts, including some encouraging results but also variability across subjects. We also describe a significant difference in dose with lower current, smaller electrodes and much longer durations (up to 11 h) than used in modern tDCS.

Figure 2. Summary of study parameters on human trials using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in old literature (from 1960 to 1998). Models of commonly used montages of tDCS in early studies (A); red: anode electrode(s), blue: cathode electrode(s). Total number of subjects in each group of patients participating in studies using aforementioned montages (B.1) and leading countries conducting tDCS studies in early stage with number of published articles (B.2).

Continue —> Frontiers | Notes on Human Trials of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation between 1960 and 1998 | Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

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[Abstract] The effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on motor sequence learning and upper limb function after stroke

Introduction

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a safe and non-invasive brain stimulation technique with the potential to improve upper limb function after stroke. Ipsilesional primary motor cortex (M1) excitability can be increased with anodal tDCS, contralesional M1 excitability can be decreased with cathodal tDCS or both anodal and cathodal tDCS can be used simultaneously on both cortices (bihemispheric). The impact of these different electrode arrangements on the efficacy of tDCS, and whether any of the changes are due to callosal connections between cortices, is unclear.

Objectives

This study aimed to investigate the effect of tDCS electrode arrangement on motor sequence learning and upper limb function in chronic stroke survivors.

Patients and methods

21 stroke survivors (range 3–124 months post-stroke, 34–81 years of age) with upper limb impairment received 20 min of 1 mA tDCS (0.04 mA·cm−2) during performance of a motor sequence learning task which involved movement of a computer mouse with the paretic arm to circular targets on a monitor in a repeating pattern. Four tDCS conditions were studied in a repeated-measures design; (i) anodal to the ipsilesional M1, (ii) cathodal to the contralesional M1, (iii) bihemispheric and (iv) sham. Upper limb function was assessed before and after tDCS, using the Jebsen–Taylor hand function test (JTT). Changes in transcallosal inhibition (TCI) were assessed using transcranial magnetic stimulation (ipsilateral silent period duration).

Results

There was no effect of tDCS condition on performance of the motor sequence learning task. Performance on the JTT improved significantly after unilateral tDCS (anodal or cathodal) compared to sham (p < 0.05), but not after bihemispheric (Fig. 1). There was no effect on TCI (p > 0.5), and no relationship between changes in TCI and upper limb function.

Conclusions

Unilateral, but not bihemispheric, tDCS improves upper limb function. The response to tDCS does not appear to be driven by changes in TCI. These results have implications for the use of tDCS for upper limb rehabilitation.

Source: P244 The effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on motor sequence learning and upper limb function after stroke – Clinical Neurophysiology

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[ARTICLE] Anatomical Parameters of tDCS to Modulate the Motor System after Stroke: A Review – Full Text

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a noninvasive brain stimulation method to modulate the local field potential in neural tissue and consequently, cortical excitability. As tDCS is relatively portable, affordable, and accessible, the applications of tDCS to probe brain-behavior connections have rapidly increased in the last ten years. One of the most promising applications is the use of tDCS to modulate excitability in the motor cortex after stroke and promote motor recovery. However, the results of clinical studies implementing tDCS to modulate motor excitability have been highly variable, with some studies demonstrating that as many as 50% or more of patients fail to show a response to stimulation. Much effort has therefore been dedicated to understanding the sources of variability affecting tDCS efficacy. Possible suspects include the placement of the electrodes, task parameters during stimulation, dosing (current amplitude, duration of stimulation, frequency of stimulation), individual states (e.g., anxiety, motivation, attention), and more. In this review, we first briefly review potential sources of variability specific to stroke motor recovery following tDCS. We then examine how the anatomical variability in tDCS placement (e.g., neural target(s) and montages employed) may alter the neuromodulatory effects that tDCS exerts on the post-stroke motor system.

Introduction

Stroke is a neurological deficit induced by the interruption of the blood flow to the brain due to either a vessel occlusion or less frequently an intracerebral hemorrhage (1). Both may induce direct damage of brain tissue at the site of the lesion, along with potential for additional damage in the surrounding tissue, and long-range dysfunction through the interruption of structural and functional pathways in the brain. This also leads to a deregulation of cortical excitability (24) and abnormal interhemispheric interactions. Stroke may thus induce many neurological deficits and could result in death. According to the World Stroke Organization, one out of six people will suffer from a stroke, making stroke a leading cause of adult long-term disability worldwide (57). Importantly, one of the main challenges after stroke is the loss of one’s functional motor abilities. Research suggests that only 12% of stroke survivors achieve complete motor recovery by 6 months after the stroke (8). In addition, older individuals are more vulnerable to stroke and thus the incidence of stroke is expected to continue rising over the next few decades (9, 10). Accordingly, there is a need to find new potential therapeutic tools to enhance post-stroke motor recovery. Rebalancing interhemispheric interactions and/or restoring excitability in the ipsilesional hemisphere is thought to be beneficial for post-stroke motor recovery (1117). Thus, techniques aimed at restoring functional brain activity are a promising way to enhance neural recovery after injury. Most of the literature on stroke recovery focuses on the recovery of upper limb motor function. Since the neural mechanisms involved in motor recovery of upper versus lower limbs may differ, in this review, we focus only on upper limb motor recovery after stroke.

Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques show strong therapeutic potential for post-stroke motor rehabilitation due to their ability to modulate cortical excitability (1821). In particular, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has emerged as a viable neurorehabilitation tool due to its limited side-effects (22, 23) and safety [e.g., no known risk of neural damage or induction of seizures, as can be found in other NIBS methods like repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) (24, 25)]. In addition, tDCS stimulators are commercially available and relatively affordable, on the order of several hundred dollars, and application of tDCS is considered relatively simple. By delivering a low-intensity direct current (between 0.5 and 2 mA) to the scalp via two saline-soaked electrodes—an anode and a cathode—tDCS can modulate the transmembrane potential of neurons, modifying cortical excitability and inducing changes in neural plasticity (see Figure 1) (2630). In addition, recent work has attempted to enhance the spatial resolution of tDCS stimulation, using a new technique called high-definition tDCS (HD-tDCS) (3134). With this technique, brain regions are more focally targeted using arrays of smaller electrodes arranged on the scalp (Figure 2), using multiple anodes and cathodes (see section on Focal versus Broad Stimulation for a more detailed description). Recently, there has also been increased interest in combining tDCS with imaging methods, such as fMRI or EEG, in order to better understand the local and global effects of tDCS on neural plasticity throughout the brain (35). These methods have all contributed to the growth and interest of tDCS as a viable neuromodulatory method for stroke.

Figure 1. Conventional transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) setup. The conventional tDCS setup requires a small tDCS stimulator with a 9-V battery, two saline-soaked sponge electrodes and one rubber band to hold the electrodes in place on the head. While there are many options for convention tDCS, the unit shown here is the Chattanooga Iontophoresis device.

Continue —> Frontiers | Anatomical Parameters of tDCS to Modulate the Motor System after Stroke: A Review | Movement Disorders

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[ARTICLE] Using Biophysical Models to Understand the Effect of tDCS on Neurorehabilitation: Searching for Optimal Covariates to Enhance Poststroke Recovery – Full Text

Stroke is a leading cause of worldwide disability, and up to 75% of survivors suffer from some degree of arm paresis. Recently, rehabilitation of stroke patients has focused on recovering motor skills by taking advantage of use-dependent neuroplasticity, where high-repetition of goal-oriented movement is at times combined with non-invasive brain stimulation, such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Merging the two approaches is thought to provide outlasting clinical gains, by enhancing synaptic plasticity and motor relearning in the motor cortex primary area. However, this general approach has shown mixed results across the stroke population. In particular, stroke location has been found to correlate with the likelihood of success, which suggests that different patients might require different protocols. Understanding how motor rehabilitation and stimulation interact with ongoing neural dynamics is crucial to optimize rehabilitation strategies, but it requires theoretical and computational models to consider the multiple levels at which this complex phenomenon operate. In this work, we argue that biophysical models of cortical dynamics are uniquely suited to address this problem. Specifically, biophysical models can predict treatment efficacy by introducing explicit variables and dynamics for damaged connections, changes in neural excitability, neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, plasticity mechanisms and repetitive movement, which together can represent brain state, effect of incoming stimulus and movement-induced activity. In this work, we hypothesize that effects of tDCS depend on ongoing neural activity, and that tDCS effects on plasticity may be also related to enhancing inhibitory processes. We propose a model design for each step of this complex system, and highlight strengths and limitations of the different modeling choices within our approach. Our theoretical framework proposes a change in paradigm, where biophysical models can contribute to the future design of novel protocols, in which combined tDCS and motor rehabilitation strategies are tailored to the ongoing dynamics that they interact with, by considering the known biophysical factors recruited by such protocols and their interaction.

Source: Frontiers | Using Biophysical Models to Understand the Effect of tDCS on Neurorehabilitation: Searching for Optimal Covariates to Enhance Poststroke Recovery | Stroke

Figure 1. Diagram of top-down and bottom-up stroke neurorehabilitation strategies. Sensory–motor training and brain stimulation contribute to rehabilitation protocols that exploit neural plasticity. The bottom-up approach includes sensory–motor training, which can be aided by robots, electrical stimulation of the periphery, and constrains. The top-down approaches include methods to stimulate the brain non-invasively.

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[REVIEW] TRANSCRANIAL DIRECT CURRENT STIMULATION (tDCS) AND TRANSCRANIAL CURRENT ALTERNATING STIMULATION (tACS) REVIEW – Full Text PDF

Abstract

This literature review is aimed to explore the main technical characteristics of both transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) using the latest research on both healthy and impaired subjects. These techniques have no official standards developed yet. Our intent is to underline the main properties and problems linked with the application of those techniques which show diverse, and sometimes even opposite, results depending mainly on electrode positioning and underlying brain activity.
1 INTRODUCTION
Among different impairments that can affect standard brain functions, we choose to focus primarily on stroke, because it is one of the most prevalent and severe disability worldwide [1]. It is known that after a cerebrovascular accident, reorganization of neural tissues takes place [18]. If the ischemic event occurs on the motor area and it is severe enough to block the spontaneous neural reorganization, it could lead to paresis or even paralysis of one or more body parts [24].
In order to ameliorate stroke rehabilitation, different approaches have been carried out. Over the last decade, within the field of functional rehabilitation, transcranial current stimulation (tCS) has garnered considerable attention. It is assumed to improve, above other, motor functions in both healthy and stroke individuals [25], [4], [23].
There are three different types of tCS: transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) and random noise stimulation (tRNS). All of them are non-invasive and involve low intensity current induction into the brain. Some studies have investi
gated the physiological basis of tDCS and tACS in order to get the picture of standard pattern that can be used for future research [36], [32].
This paper is oriented towards a broad audience who wants to understand the basic mechanisms of tDCS and tACS techniques. The main parameters of each type of stimulation and the implications related to its application on healthy subjects, stroke patients and individuals with unusual brain oscillations are discussed.

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