Using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to Augment the Effect of Motor Imagery-Assisted Brain-Computer Interface Training in Chronic Stroke Patients—Cortical Reorganization Considerations

Using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to Augment the Effect of Motor Imagery-Assisted Brain-Computer Interface Training in Chronic Stroke Patients—Cortical Reorganization Considerations
Title:
Using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to Augment the Effect of Motor Imagery-Assisted Brain-Computer Interface Training in Chronic Stroke Patients—Cortical Reorganization Considerations
Other Titles:
Frontiers in Neurology
Publication Date:
27 August 2020
Citation:
Chew E, Teo W-P, Tang N, Ang KK, Ng YS, Zhou JH, Teh I, Phua KS, Zhao L and 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. Front. Neurol. 11:948.
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.
License type:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Funding Info:
This study was supported by grants from the National Medical Research Council, Singapore (NIG09may022).
Description:
ISSN:
1664-2295
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