Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10497/22447
Title: 
Authors: 
Subjects: 
Stroke
Motor recovery
Transcranial direct current stimulation
Brain-computer interface
Motor imagery
Issue Date: 
2020
Citation: 
Chew, E., Teo, W.-P., Tang, N., Ang, K. K., Ng, Y. S., Zhou, J. H., Teh, I., & Guan, C. (2020). Using transcranial direct current stimulation to augment the effect of motor imagery-assisted brain-computer interface training in chronic stroke patients: Cortical reorganization considerations. Frontiers in Neurology, 11, Article 948. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.00948
Abstract: 
Introduction: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been shown to modulate cortical plasticity, enhance motor learning and post-stroke upper extremity motor recovery. It has also been demonstrated to facilitate activation of brain-computer interface (BCI) in stroke patients. We had previously demonstrated that BCI-assisted motor imagery (MI-BCI) can improve upper extremity impairment in chronic stroke participants. This study was carried out to investigate the effects of priming with tDCS prior to MI-BCI training in chronic stroke patients with moderate to severe upper extremity paresis and to investigate the cortical activity changes associated with training.

Methods: This is a double-blinded randomized clinical trial. Participants were randomized to receive 10 sessions of 20-min 1 mA tDCS or sham-tDCS before MI-BCI, with the anode applied to the ipsilesional, and the cathode to the contralesional primary motor cortex (M1). Upper extremity sub-scale of the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (UE-FM) and corticospinal excitability measured by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) were assessed before, after and 4 weeks after intervention.

Results: Ten participants received real tDCS and nine received sham tDCS. UE-FM improved significantly in both groups after intervention. Of those with unrecordable motor evoked potential (MEP-) to the ipsilesional M1, significant improvement in UE-FM was found in the real-tDCS group, but not in the sham group. Resting motor threshold (RMT) of ipsilesional M1 decreased significantly after intervention in the real-tDCS group. Short intra-cortical inhibition (SICI) in the contralesional M1 was reduced significantly following intervention in the sham group. Correlation was found between baseline UE-FM score and changes in the contralesional SICI for all, as well as between changes in UE-FM and changes in contralesional RMT in the MEP- group.

Conclusion: MI-BCI improved the motor function of the stroke-affected arm in chronic stroke patients with moderate to severe impairment. tDCS did not confer overall additional benefit although there was a trend toward greater benefit. Cortical activity changes in the contralesional M1 associated with functional improvement suggests a possible role for the contralesional M1 in stroke recovery in more severely affected patients. This has important implications in designing neuromodulatory interventions for future studies and tailoring treatment.
URI: 
DOI: 
Grant ID: 
NIG09MAY022
Funding Agency: 
National Medical Research Council, Singapore.
File Permission: 
Open
File Availability: 
With file
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