Eight randomized placebo-controlled trials provide further evidence that anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) may benefit motor function of the paretic upper limb in patients with chronic stroke, say authors of a meta-analysis published online in Journal of Hand Therapy.
Prior reviews on the effects of a-tDCS have shown the effectiveness of a-tDCS on corticomotor excitability and motor function in healthy individuals but nonsignificant effect in participants with stroke. To summarize and evaluate the evidence for the efficacy of a-tDCS in the treatment of upper limb motor impairment after stroke, the authors conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that compared a-tDCS with placebo and change from baseline.
A pooled analysis showed a significant increase in scores in favor of a-tDCS (standard mean difference [SMD]=0.40, compared with baseline). A similar effect was observed between a-tDCS and sham (SMD=0.49).
APTA members Margaret Shuster, PT, Kevin Hurley, PT, and Karen E. Guilkey, PT, DPT, coauthored the article.