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Stroke Res Treat. 2013;2013:837595. doi: 10.1155/2013/837595. Epub 2013 Jan 8.

The ABC of tDCS: Effects of Anodal, Bilateral and Cathodal Montages of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Patients with Stroke-A Pilot Study.

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Clinical Laboratory of Experimental Neurorehabilitation, I.R.C.C.S. Santa Lucia Foundation, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Rome, Italy.


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a noninvasive technique that is emerging as a prospective therapy for different neurologic disorders. Previous studies have demonstrated that anodal and cathodal stimulation can improve motor performance in terms of dexterity and manual force. The objective of this study was to determine whether different electrodes' setups (anodal, cathodal, and simultaneous bilateral tDCS) provide different motor performance and which montage was more effective. As secondary outcome, we have asked to the patients about their satisfaction, and to determine if the bilateral tDCS was more uncomfortable than unilateral tDCS. Nine patients with stroke in subacute phase were enrolled in this study and randomly divided in three groups. Our results showed that tDCS was an effective treatment if compared to Sham stimulation (P = 0.022). In particular, anodal stimulation provided the higher improvement in terms of manual dexterity. Cathodal stimulation seemed to have a little effect in terms of force improvement, not observed with other setups. Bipolar stimulation seemed to be the less effective. No significant differences have been noted for the different set-ups for patients' judgment. These results highlight the potential efficacy of tDCS for patients with stroke in subacute phase.

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