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Pilot Study of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02746705
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : April 21, 2016
Results First Posted : May 8, 2020
Last Update Posted : May 8, 2020
Stony Brook University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
NYU Langone Health

Brief Summary:
This study will test the tolerability and preliminary efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with a cognitive training program, remotely-delivered using a telemedicine protocol in 60 adults with multiple sclerosis (MS). The study will evaluate the efficacy of tDCS to evaluate two of the most debilitating symptoms of MS: cognitive impairment and fatigue.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Multiple Sclerosis Device: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) Device: Sham Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Behavioral: Cognitive Training Program Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been demonstrated to:

  1. successfully treat fatigue in adults with MS, and
  2. improve learning ability and other aspects of cognitive functioning in healthy controls and in participants with a range of medical disorders.

Cognitive impairment in MS remains a major treatment challenge and a trial of tDCS combined with a cognitive training program to treat MS-related cognitive impairment is warranted. However, one barrier for the study of tDCS has been the need for the participant to travel to the study site for each tDCS administration. To address this issue, the biomedical company Soterix, has recently designed a remote-delivery tDCS device designed for use in clinical trials. Therefore, the primary goal of this study is to establish a protocol for remotely-supervised in-home tDCS delivery for studies with MS participants. Established safety and feasibility of remotely-supervised tDCS delivery will facilitate the next steps of larger controlled trials, in both MS as well as other conditions, to determine efficacy and appropriate real-world use.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 31 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Care Provider)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Pilot Study of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)
Actual Study Start Date : April 2016
Actual Primary Completion Date : September 30, 2018
Actual Study Completion Date : September 30, 2018

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Active Comparator: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) Device: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)
tDCS is a therapeutic development that utilizes low amplitude direct currents to induce changes in cortical excitability. tDCS is expected to produce neuronal polarization of less than one mV (millivolt) 9. tDCS produces relatively diffuse current flow, as demonstrated by imaging studies and computational models
Other Name: Soterix 1x1 tDCS mini-CT

Behavioral: Cognitive Training Program
Sham Comparator: Sham Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) Device: Sham Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
During a sham session, the device is programmed to ramp up to the desired intensity (target 2.0 mA) and ramp down for the initial 60 seconds, with no current delivery during the session, and then again at the end of the session. These brief periods of stimulation serve to mimic the effects of a true stimulation session.

Behavioral: Cognitive Training Program

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. The Number of Participants Completing at Least 80% of the Targeted Sessions. [ Time Frame: Four Weeks ]
    80% is equivalent to n=16 of the targeted 20 transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) or sham tDCS sessions.

  2. Change in Total Score of the Brief International Assessment of Cognition in MS (BICAMS) [ Time Frame: Baseline, Four Weeks ]

    BICAMS comprises two tests, the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R).

    Scoring for SDMT involves summing the number of correct substitutions within the 90 second interval (max = 110. The higher the score, the better).

    Visual/spatial memory is assessed in BICAMS using the BVMTR. In this test, six abstract designs are presented for 10 sec. The display is removed from view and patients render the stimuli via pencil on paper manual responses. Each design receives from 0 to 2 points representing accuracy and location. Thus, scores range from 0 to 12 (the higher the score, the better).

    The total score range for BICAMS is 0-122. The higher the score, the better.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Score on Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS) [ Time Frame: Baseline, 4 Weeks ]
    MFIS consists of 21 statements. The number that best indicates how often fatigue has affected the participant in the manner described during the past 4 weeks is circled. Answer choices include: 0 - never, 1 - rarely, 2 - sometimes, 3 - often, 4 - almost always. The total score ranges from 0 to 84. The higher the number, the more frequently fatigue impacted the participant during the past 4 weeks.

  2. Change in Score of CogState Brief Battery (CBB) [ Time Frame: Baseline, 4 Week ]
    CBB is a brief, computer-administered cognitive test battery that requires approximately 10 minutes for administration. If the CBB score falls between -10 to +10, it is considered normal. CogState scoring is such that 0 could be considered as performing in the average range for that subtest compared to people of similar age. A negative score means that the performance was lower than average, and a positive score means the performance was higher than average. Higher positive scores (for instance 0.2 becoming 0.5) may indicate slightly better performance and higher negative scores (for instance, -0.4 becoming -0.8) may indicate slightly worsening performance.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 70 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Ages 18-70
  • Definite MS diagnosis, all subtypes [95]
  • MS-related changes in cognitive functioning
  • A score of 6.5 or lesson the Expanded
  • Disability Status Scale (EDSS) OR more than 6.5 with proxy
  • Has stable and continuous access to internet service at home compatible with the study laptop (Wi-Fi or ethernet cable)
  • Adequate internet capacity for remote monitoring, as tested by
  • Adequate home facilities (enough space, access to quiet and distraction free area)
  • Able to commit to the two-week period of training sessions with baseline and follow-up visits.
  • Able to understand the informed consent process and provide consent to participate in the study

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Visual, auditory and motor deficits that would prevent full ability to understand study instructions or operate the tDCS device or study laptop, as judged by treating neurologist or study staff
  • Relapse or steroid use in previous month
  • History of mental retardation, pervasive developmental disorder or other neurological condition associated with cognitive impairment
  • Primary psychiatric disorder that would influence ability to participate
  • History of seizures or seizure disorder
  • Current chronic headaches or migraines. In addition, if a subject has had a change in the rate or severity of head pressure, headache, or migraine in the past two weeks, they are excluded.
  • History of head trauma (e.g., head injury, brain surgery) or medical device implanted in the head (such as Deep Brain Stimulator) or in the neck (such as a Vagus Nerve Stimulator)
  • Any skin disorder/sensitive skin (e.g., eczema, severe rashes), blisters, open wounds, burn including sunburns, cuts or irritation, or other skin defects which compromise the integrity of the skin at or near stimulation locations (where electrodes are placed)
  • Treatment for a communicable skin disorder currently or over the past 12 months

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02746705

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United States, New York
New York University Langone Medical Center
New York, New York, United States, 10016
Sponsors and Collaborators
NYU Langone Health
Stony Brook University
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Principal Investigator: Leigh Charvet NYU Langone Medical Center
  Study Documents (Full-Text)

Documents provided by NYU Langone Health:
Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: NYU Langone Health Identifier: NCT02746705    
Other Study ID Numbers: 15-01189
First Posted: April 21, 2016    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: May 8, 2020
Last Update Posted: May 8, 2020
Last Verified: April 2020

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: Yes
Product Manufactured in and Exported from the U.S.: No
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Multiple Sclerosis
Demyelinating Autoimmune Diseases, CNS
Autoimmune Diseases of the Nervous System
Nervous System Diseases
Demyelinating Diseases
Autoimmune Diseases
Immune System Diseases