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Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Promising for Multiple Sclerosis

NeurologyAdvisor | Alicia Ciccone | October, 1, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Haymarket Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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CHICAGO — Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may help improve cognition and reduce mental fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), results from a pilot study indicate. The findings were presented at the American Neurological Association 2015 Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Tracy D. Vannorsdall, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted the small study in five patients with secondary progressive MS. The findings, while preliminary, show promise for tDCS as a future therapy for MS.

In a sham-controlled, single-blind crossover experiment, participants completed cognitive assessments (MAC-FIMS cognitive battery, Beck Depression Inventory II, and Fatigue Severity Scale) both before and after receiving 2 MA of anodal and sham tDCS to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex for 30 minutes, once a day for five consecutive days, while also performing cognitive rehabilitative tasks. There was a four-week washout period between therapies.

Those who received active stimulation showed a reduction in fatigue while an increase in fatigue was observed during sham stimulation. Results also showed a statistically significant improvement in verbal short-term memory, learning, and memory, and positive trends were also seen in working memory and other cognitive skills during active stimulation compared to sham stimulation. No change in depression scale ratings was observed for either therapy.

Overall, tDCS was found to be safe and well-tolerated, with results suggesting that it may ameliorate fatigue and cognitive dysfunction in MS.

Vannorsdall TD et al. Abstract S114. Presented at: American Neurological Association Annual Meeting 2015. September 27-29, 2015; Chicago.

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