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Neuroreport. 2005 Sep 28;16(14):1551-5.

Transcranial direct current stimulation of the unaffected hemisphere in stroke patients.

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Harvard Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Recovery of function after a stroke is determined by a balance of activity in the neural network involving both the affected and the unaffected brain hemispheres. Increased activity in the affected hemisphere can promote recovery, while excessive activity in the unaffected hemisphere may represent a maladaptive strategy. We therefore investigated whether reduction of the excitability in the unaffected hemisphere by cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation could result in motor performance improvement in stroke patients. We compared these results with excitability-enhancing anodal transcranial direct current stimulation of the affected hemisphere and sham transcranial direct current stimulation. Both cathodal stimulation of the unaffected hemisphere and anodal stimulation of the affected hemisphere (but not sham transcranial direct current stimulation) improved motor performance significantly. These results suggest that the appropriate modulation of bihemispheric brain structures can promote motor function recovery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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