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Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to Improve Gesture Control (GesttDCS)

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03463902
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : March 13, 2018
Last Update Posted : March 13, 2019
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Bern

Brief Summary:
The majority of schizophrenia patients is impaired in hand gesture performance, which contributes to poor functional outcome and poor communication skills. The left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the left inferior parietal lobe (IPL) are key nodes of the gesture network, which is less active in patients with schizophrenia. Here, the investigators test single 10 min sessions of tDCS known to either enhance or inhibit local brain activity for app. 1 hour. The investigators aim to determine, which protocol may improve gesture performance in patients and healthy controls. This is a randomized, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled single-center trial in 20 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and 20 healthy controls. Gesture performance will be tested immediately after each tDCS session, which are separated by 24 hours. Results of this study will inform larger interventional trials comparing 2 tDCS protocols with repeated administration.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Device: left IFG anodal Device: left IFG cathodal Device: left IPL anodal Device: left IPL cathodal Device: Placebo Phase 1 Phase 2

Detailed Description:

Schizophrenia is associated with poor social functioning, which is perturbed by deficits in social interaction including nonverbal communication. The use of hand gestures is critical for nonverbal communication, but the majority of schizophrenia patients has severe gesture impairments. Today no intervention may ameliorate gesture impairments.

Patients with gesture impairments have altered structure and function of the gesture network, particularly the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and also the left inferior parietal lobe (IPL). Noninvasive brain stimulation techniques may alter local brain function. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for 10 mins is a very safe method to alter brain states locally for a period of 1-2 hours. Indeed, facilitatory stimulation of the left frontal cortex by tDCS demonstrated improved gesture perception and interpretation in healthy subjects. Furthermore, patients with apraxia identified gestures better after facilitatory tDCS over the left inferior parietal lobe (IPL). Thus, the investigators hypothesize that local changes of brain activity within the gesture network would change gesture performance.Particularly, anodal (facilitatory) stimulation of the left IFG would improve gesture performance. The investigators will test single sessions of tDCS in healthy subjects and schizophrenia patients. If one of the protocols proves to have superior effects, this result will help to plan interventional trials targeting social interaction deficits in schizophrenia.

The aim of the study is to determine the effect of one 10 min session of anodal tDCS over the left IFG on gesture performance compared to three active and one placebo tDCS sessions. This is a randomized, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled single-center trial in 20 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and 20 healthy controls. After baseline assessment of gesture performance, participants will receive one 10 min tDCS protocol each day, immediately followed by assessments of gesture performance and dexterity. Gesture performance will be measured with video recorded Test of Upper Limb Apraxia, which is rated blindly according to a manual. Active comparisons are cathodal tDCS over left IFG, anodal tDCS over left IPL and cathodal tDCS over left IPL.


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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 40 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Intervention Model Description: randomized, double-blind, cross-over trial of 5 tDCS protocols
Masking: Triple (Participant, Care Provider, Outcomes Assessor)
Masking Description: participants, outcome assessors and raters are blinded. tDCS application is performed by an unblinded investigator
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to Improve Gesture Control in Schizophrenia - a Randomised, Placebo-controlled, Double-blind Crossover Trial
Actual Study Start Date : January 29, 2018
Estimated Primary Completion Date : January 2020
Estimated Study Completion Date : February 2020

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Schizophrenia

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: left IFG anodal
2 mA Stimulation of 10 min, anodal electrode over left IFG, cathodal electrode over right IFG, 30 sec ramp to start and 30 sec ramp to stop
Device: left IFG anodal

Single session of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over left IFG anodal stimulation

2 mA Stimulation of 10 min, anodal electrode over left IFG, cathodal electrode over right IFG, 30 sec ramp to start and 30 sec ramp to stop


Active Comparator: left IFG cathodal
2 mA Stimulation of 10 min, cathodal electrode over left IFG, anodal electrode over right IFG, 30 sec ramp to start and 30 sec ramp to stop
Device: left IFG cathodal

Single session of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over left IFG cathodal stimulation

2 mA Stimulation of 10 min, cathodal electrode over left IFG, anodal electrode over right IFG, 30 sec ramp to start and 30 sec ramp to stop


Active Comparator: left IPL anodal
2 mA Stimulation of 10 min, anodal electrode over left IPL, cathodal electrode over right IPL, 30 sec ramp to start and 30 sec ramp to stop
Device: left IPL anodal
Single session of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over left IPL anodal stimulation 2 mA Stimulation of 10 min, anodal electrode over left IPL, cathodal electrode over right IPL, 30 sec ramp to start and 30 sec ramp to stop

Active Comparator: left IPL cathodal
2 mA Stimulation of 10 min, anodal electrode over left IFG, cathodal electrode over right IFG, 30 sec ramp to start and 30 sec ramp to stop
Device: left IPL cathodal
Single session of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over left IPL cathodal stimulation 2 mA Stimulation of 10 min, anodal electrode over left IFG, cathodal electrode over right IFG, 30 sec ramp to start and 30 sec ramp to stop

Placebo Comparator: Placebo
anodal electrode over left IFG, cathodal electrode over right IFG, stimulation only during 30 sec ramp at beginning and end of 10 min
Device: Placebo
Single session of placebo tDCS over left IFG 10 min duration, 30 sec ramp during start and end




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Test of Upper Limb Apraxia [ Time Frame: 10 mins after baseline assessment ]
    Standardized gesture performance test, video recorded and rated according to manual by a rater blind to treatment and group

  2. Test of Upper Limb Apraxia [ Time Frame: 10 mins after tDCS intervention left IFG anodal ]
    Standardized gesture performance test, video recorded and rated according to manual by a rater blind to treatment and group

  3. Test of Upper Limb Apraxia [ Time Frame: 10 mins after tDCS intervention left IFG cathodal ]
    Standardized gesture performance test, video recorded and rated according to manual by a rater blind to treatment and group

  4. Test of Upper Limb Apraxia [ Time Frame: 10 mins after tDCS intervention left IPL anodal ]
    Standardized gesture performance test, video recorded and rated according to manual by a rater blind to treatment and group

  5. Test of Upper Limb Apraxia [ Time Frame: 10 mins after tDCS intervention left IPL cathodal ]
    Standardized gesture performance test, video recorded and rated according to manual by a rater blind to treatment and group

  6. Test of Upper Limb Apraxia [ Time Frame: 10 mins after tDCS intervention with placebo ]
    Standardized gesture performance test, video recorded and rated according to manual by a rater blind to treatment and group


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Coin Rotation [ Time Frame: 20 mins after baseline assessment ]
    Test of dexterity, 3 trials of 10s to rotate a .5 SFr coin between thumb, index and middle finger, video recorded, rated blindly according to number of coin half turns

  2. Coin Rotation [ Time Frame: 20 mins after tDCS intervention left IFG anodal ]
    Test of dexterity, 3 trials of 10s to rotate a .5 SFr coin between thumb, index and middle finger, video recorded, rated blindly according to number of coin half turns

  3. Coin Rotation [ Time Frame: 20 mins after tDCS intervention left IFG cathodal ]
    Test of dexterity, 3 trials of 10s to rotate a .5 SFr coin between thumb, index and middle finger, video recorded, rated blindly according to number of coin half turns

  4. Coin Rotation [ Time Frame: 20 mins after tDCS intervention left IPL anodal ]
    Test of dexterity, 3 trials of 10s to rotate a .5 SFr coin between thumb, index and middle finger, video recorded, rated blindly according to number of coin half turns

  5. Coin Rotation [ Time Frame: 20 mins after tDCS intervention left IPL cathodal ]
    Test of dexterity, 3 trials of 10s to rotate a .5 SFr coin between thumb, index and middle finger, video recorded, rated blindly according to number of coin half turns

  6. Coin Rotation [ Time Frame: 20 mins after tDCS intervention with placebo ]
    Test of dexterity, 3 trials of 10s to rotate a .5 SFr coin between thumb, index and middle finger, video recorded, rated blindly according to number of coin half turns



Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Right handed according to the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory
  • Ability and willingness to participate in the study
  • Ability to provide written informed consent
  • Informed Consent as documented by signature (Appendix Informed Consent Form)
  • Spent majority of childhood/adolescence in Switzerland
  • Patients: schizophrenia spectrum disorder according to DSM-5

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Women who are pregnant or breast feeding
  • Metal objects on or in the body (e.g. grenade splinter, cardiac pacemaker, vessel clips, metal prostheses, contraceptive coil, cochlear implants, hearing aid, tooth implant)
  • Tattoos on head, neck or shoulder in close proximity to the electrode placement
  • Current skin problems on the scalp, eg. bruises or open wounds
  • History of neurosurgery, any severe head wounds, history of neurologic disorders impacting gesture, e.g. Parkinson's disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis
  • Active drug addiction except nicotine
  • Known contact allergies
  • Controls: first-degree relatives with schizophrenia spectrum disorders

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 ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03463902


Locations
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Switzerland
University Hospital of Psychiatry Recruiting
Bern, Switzerland, 3000
Contact: Petra Viher, PhD    0319309757    petra.viher@upd.unibe.ch   
Principal Investigator: Sebastian Walther, MD         
Sub-Investigator: Petra Viher, PhD         
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Bern
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Sebastian Walther, MD University of Bern, University Hospital of Psychiatry

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Responsible Party: University of Bern
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03463902     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2017-01995
First Posted: March 13, 2018    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 13, 2019
Last Verified: March 2019
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No
Plan Description: The investigators do not plan to share the data, because they cannot anonymize the video data sufficiently

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by University of Bern:
Gesture
tDCS
schizophrenia
nonverbal communication
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
Mental Disorders