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Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2014;32(3):423-36. doi: 10.3233/RNN-130372.

Impact of transcranial direct current stimulation on fatigue in multiple sclerosis.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, University Medical Center, Georg-August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.
2
Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, University Medical Center, Georg-August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Fatigue is a frequent and difficult to treat symptom affecting patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) with a profound negative impact on quality of life. Fatigue has been associated with functional and structural abnormalities of the frontal cortex, including frontal hypo-activation. The aim of this exploratory study was to assess whether fatigue symptoms can be reduced by excitability-enhancing anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).

METHODS:

In this sham-controlled, double-blind intervention study, tDCS was applied over the left prefrontal cortex of MS patients with fatigue for five consecutive days. Symptoms were tracked for 1 month via questionnaires. Lesion load at baseline was calculated for each patient and correlated with fatigue levels and responsiveness to stimulation.

RESULTS:

In the whole group analysis the scores of the fatigue scales were not altered by tDCS. However, in an exploratory analysis we found a correlation between response to the stimulation regarding subjectively perceived fatigue and lesion load in the left frontal cortex: patients responding positively to anodal tDCS had higher lesion load, compared to non-responding patients.

CONCLUSION:

We conclude that in patient subgroups discernible by specific morphological alterations, tDCS may be a tool for MS fatigue management.

KEYWORDS:

MRI; Multiple sclerosis; fatigue; lesion load; tDCS

PMID:
24531295
DOI:
10.3233/RNN-130372
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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