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Ann Rehabil Med. 2012 Feb;36(1):1-7. doi: 10.5535/arm.2012.36.1.1. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

Effect of Stimulation Polarity of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Non-dominant Hand Function.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Chungnam National University School of Medicine, Daejeon 301-172, Korea.



To evaluate motor excitability and hand function on the non-dominant side according to the polarity of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on the motor cortex in a healthy person.


tDCS was applied to the hand motor cortex for 15 minutes at an intensity of 1 mA in 28 healthy right-handed adults. Subjects were divided randomly into four groups: an anodal tDCS of the non-dominant hemisphere group, a cathodal tDCS of the non-dominant hemisphere group, an anodal tDCS of the dominant hemisphere group, and a sham group. We measured the motor evoked potential (MEP) in the abductor pollicis brevis and Jabsen-Taylor hand function test (JTT) in the non-dominant hand prior to and following tDCS. All study procedures were done under double-blind design.


There was a significant increase in the MEP amplitude and a significant improvement in the JTT in the non-dominant hand following anodal tDCS of the non-dominant hemisphere (p<0.05). But there was no change in JTT and a significant decrease in the MEP amplitude in the non-dominant hand following cathodal tDCS on the non-dominant hemisphere and anodal tDCS of the dominant hemisphere.


Non-dominant hand function is improved by increased excitability of the motor cortex. Although motor cortex excitability is decreased in a healthy person, non-dominant hand function is maintained. A homeostatic mechanism in the brain might therefore be involved in preserving this function. Further studies are warranted to examine brain functions to clarify this mechanism.


Cortical excitability; Jabsen-Taylor hand function test; Transcranial direct current stimulation; tDCS

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