Authors: Shigematsu T, Fujishima I, Ohno K
Title: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Improves Swallowing Function in Stroke Patients
Source: Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair 2013 27(4): 363-369
Year: 2013
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 06/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - Y
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

Background. Poststroke dysphagia can persist, leading to many complications. Objective. We investigated whether noninvasive brain stimulation to the pharyngeal motor cortex combined with intensive swallowing therapy can improve dysphagia. Methods. A total of 20 patients who had dysphagia for at least 1 month after stroke were randomly assigned to receive 10 sessions lasting 20 minutes each of either 1-mA anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) or a sham procedure to the ipsilesional pharyngeal motor cortex, along with simultaneous conventional swallowing therapies. We evaluated swallowing function with the Dysphagia Outcome and Severity Scale (DOSS) before, immediately after, and 1 month after the last session. Results. Anodal tDCS resulted in an improvement of 1.4 points in DOSS (P = .006) immediately after the last session and 2.8 points (P = .004) 1 month after the last session. The sham tDCS group improved 0.5 points (P = .059) after the last session and 1.2 points (P = .026) 1 month after the final session. The improvements in the anodal tDCS group were significantly greater than those in the sham tDCS group (P = .029 after the last session, and P = .007 1 month after the last session). Conclusions. Anodal tDCS to the ipsilesional hemisphere and simultaneous peripheral sensorimotor activities significantly improved swallowing function as assessed by the DOSS.

Access: Paywall