Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in Chronic Stroke Recovery

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: NCT01014897
Recruitment Status : Unknown
Verified February 2016 by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Recruitment status was:  Recruiting
First Posted : November 17, 2009
Last Update Posted : February 4, 2016
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

November 2, 2009
November 17, 2009
February 4, 2016
April 2009
December 2016   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
  • Wolf Motor Function test [ Time Frame: immediately before and immediately after treatment ]
  • Fugl-Meyer [ Time Frame: immediately before and immediately after treatment ]
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT01014897 on Archive Site
adverse events [ Time Frame: immediately before and immediately after treatment ]
Same as current
Not Provided
Not Provided
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in Chronic Stroke Recovery
tDCS in Chronic Stroke Recovery-pilot
The hypothesis of this study is that different subgroups of stroke will respond differently to direct current stimulation.

We have tested the effectiveness of each stimulation condition: 1) anodal over the lesional motor cortex 2) anodal PMD (positive electrode at the dorsal premotor cortex (PMD) of the lesional hemisphere (first phase) or dual motor cortex stimulation (second phase), 3) cathodal over the contralesional motor cortex, and 4) sham in a double blind crossover design in chronic cortical and subcortical strokes.

Persons in the chronic stage of recovery from stroke (>3 months) will receive each type of tDCS stimulation for 20 minutes concurrent with physical therapy treatments (90 minutes ) utilizing the Armeo ®, a gravity neutral arm exercise support system for the most involved upper extremity which provides for task practice in a virtual reality environment, followed by a therapist supervised targeted hand exercise. The experimental protocol will not alter standard of care, will be performed after standard rehabilitation is completed. The experimental therapy is not part of standard care and will not be charged or reimbursed by the patients' insurance. Participation will be free of charge for subjects.

We were planning to perform the study in two phases. In the first exploratory phase, we will conduct a short pilot study with 15 subjects to optimize and if possible simplify the treatment parameters for the second longer phase of the experiment. In this first phase we will perform one of the four different tDCS stimulation conditions concurrently with the physical therapy protocol on each therapy day, so that all subjects will receive all stimulation types in a randomized counterbalanced order. There will be a 1 day rest period in between sessions, making 9 days (10 days if initial evaluation is done on the day before the 1st treatment) the total commitment time for the first phase of study.

The outcome measures were collected before and after each session. The outcome measures collected after the 1 day rest provide the baseline for the next session will be also used as to validate the stability of the treatment effect. Subjects participating in the first part of the study will be offered the option to participate in the second longer phase of the study. (please see table under study procedures)

In the second phase of the experiment we will perform only the promising stimulation paradigms plus sham from the first part of the experiment in a random, counterbalanced order on up to 30 chronic stroke subjects. If in the initial phase there are no differences found between stimulation types in the cortical vs subcortical patient groups then all 3 stimulation paradigms will be performed in the second phase.

Based on our preliminary data, we will perform the following paradigms in the second phase: 1) sham 2) dual stimulation 3) optimized tDCS in a randomized counterbalanced order. The optimized tDCS will be determined during a test session prior to the first treatment where the tDCS montage producing the best behavioral response will be used during therapy. Subjects will perform this under IRB approved study # STU 102013-085.

The patient time commitment in the second phase is 18 weeks, where subjects will have 3 x 1 weeks long treatment (5 weekdays) sessions with 5 week inter-treatment "rest period". The blinded tester will perform a final outcome evaluation 5 weeks after the end of the last session. (please see table under study procedures)

Total number of potential enrolled subjects for both phases will be approximately 45 [Phase 1 (15) + Phase 2 (30)].

The stepwise design will enable us to optimize study time commitment and expenses for both patients and researchers while maximizing clinical/scientific gain.

Phase 1
Phase 2
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Device: tDCS
tDCS and sham will be applied in random order during standardized occupational therapy
Other Name: transcranial direct current stimulation
  • Experimental: subcortical
    Subcortical stroke patients will receive tDCS stimulation and sham in random order
    Intervention: Device: tDCS
  • Experimental: cortical
    subjects will receive active and sham tDCS in random order
    Intervention: Device: tDCS
Hodics TM, Nakatsuka K, Upreti B, Alex A, Smith PS, Pezzullo JC. Wolf Motor Function Test for characterizing moderate to severe hemiparesis in stroke patients. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2012 Nov;93(11):1963-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 May 10.

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Unknown status
Same as current
December 2017
December 2016   (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

Inclusion Criteria:

  • single symptomatic stroke more than 3 months ago with hand/arm weakness
  • able to perform required tests and provide consent
  • Age 18-80
  • Modified Ashworth scale <3
  • range of motion functional at shoulder elbow wrist and hand

Exclusion Criteria:

  • more than one symptomatic stroke in middle cerebral artery territory or bilateral involvement
  • severe medical or psychiatric conditions, drug abuse, seizure disorder
  • pregnancy/breast feeding
  • subarachnoid hemorrhage, lobar hemorrhage
  • patients who can not have tDCS (prior head surgery, pacemakers, metallic implants in the head etc)
  • patients taking antiadrenergic medications
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
18 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
092010-231 ( Other Identifier: UTSW IRB )
Not Provided
Plan to Share IPD: No
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Not Provided
Principal Investigator: Timea Hodics, M.D. UTSW
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
February 2016

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP