Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and Parkinson's Disease

2014-08-27 03:14:40 | BioPortfolio


The use of low level electrical stimulation when applied over the head, also called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), is being tested by several groups of researchers to see if tDCS can improve movements of persons with damage to the brain. The safety and potential benefits of tDCS to children or adults patients who are paralyzed because of brain damage are reported in the medical literature. In addition, some patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience improvement in memory and report better use of the hand after tDCS. The treatment requires putting electrodes (pads) over the head and sending very small amount of electrical current that the patient may feel as "little tingling". Application of tDCS takes 20 min. In this study we wish to test if tDCS application can improve stepping and walking ability of subjects with PD and if the improvement is the same as when walking on treadmill. We plan to test the subject's ability to step when pulled by a laboratory testing system and also test his/her walking ability. There will be 3 sessions 7 days apart. In the first session the subject will be tested then treated for 20 min with tDCS and then tested again. In the second session the subject will be tested then walk on a treadmill for 20 min then tested again. In the third session the subject will be tested then walk on the treadmill for 20 min while receiving also tDCS and tested one last time at the end of the session. Each session will take between 2 and 3 hours.


Recent advances in non-invasive electrical stimulation technology including transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) have provided novel and low risk options to rehabilitate the impaired ability of the central nervous system (CNS) to process sensorimotor information. Furthermore, tDCS appears to enhance CNS connectivity.and there is preliminary evidence that indicates that patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD) may experience improvement in working memory, the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, simple reaction time and the Purdue Pegboard test. tDCS is inexpensive, portable and available for repeated home use. It may provide long-lasting enhancement of cortical activity in part because tDCS is easy to administer to facilitate frequent and can be combined with other rehabilitation approaches including posture and gait training. However to date, no study has examined quantitatively the effects of tDCS on posture control and walking ability in patients with PD. As a first step we plan to identify the immediate effects of tDCS, as well as the added value of tDCS to treadmill exercise training, to improve posture and gait of individuals with PD.

Study Design

Allocation: Non-Randomized, Control: Uncontrolled, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Parkinson's Disease


Cranial Electric Stimulation (CES)


PTRS Research Lab
United States


Not yet recruiting


University of Maryland

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:14:40-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Application of electric current in treatment without the generation of perceptible heat. It includes electric stimulation of nerves or muscles, passage of current into the body, or use of interrupted current of low intensity to raise the threshold of the skin to pain.

Use of electric potential or currents to elicit biological responses.

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Surgically placed electric conductors through which ELECTRIC STIMULATION of nerve tissue is delivered.

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