SAGE Publications Ltd
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Background: Fatigue and attentional decline limit the duration of many therapy sessions in older adults poststroke. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may facilitate participation in rehabilitation, potentially via reduced fatigue and improved sustained attention poststroke. Objective: To evaluate whether tDCS results in an increase in the number of completed rehabilitation therapy sessions in stroke survivors. Methods: Nineteen participants were randomly allocated to receive 10 sessions of 2-mA anodal (excitatory) tDCS, or sham tDCS, applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) for 20 minutes within 1 hour prior to the first rehabilitation therapy session of the day. After a 2-day washout period, participants then crossed-over. Researchers applying the tDCS, and those recording measures were blinded to group allocation. The number of first rehabilitation therapy sessions completed as planned, as well as the total duration of rehabilitation therapy, were used to determine the influence of tDCS on participation in stroke rehabilitation. Results: The total number of first therapy sessions completed as planned did not vary according to group allocation (111 of 139 sessions for tDCS, 110 of 147 sessions for sham treatment; chi-square 1.0; P =.31). Conclusions: Our results suggest that, while tDCS to the DLPFC was well tolerated, it did not significantly influence the number of completed rehabilitation therapy sessions in stroke survivors. © The Author(s) 2020.
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