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Expert Rev Med Devices. 2008 Nov;5(6):759-68. doi: 10.1586/17434440.5.6.759.

Transcranial direct current stimulation: a noninvasive tool to facilitate stroke recovery.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Neuroimaging and Stroke Recovery Laboratories, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Electrical brain stimulation, a technique developed many decades ago and then largely forgotten, has re-emerged recently as a promising tool for experimental neuroscientists, clinical neurologists and psychiatrists in their quest to causally probe cortical representations of sensorimotor and cognitive functions and to facilitate the treatment of various neuropsychiatric disorders. In this regard, a better understanding of adaptive and maladaptive plasticity in natural stroke recovery over the last decade and the idea that brain polarization may modulate neuroplasticity has led to the use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as a potential enhancer of natural stroke recovery. We will review tDCS's successful utilization in pilot and proof-of-principle stroke recovery studies, the different modes of tDCS currently in use, and the potential mechanisms underlying the neural effects of tDCS.

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