Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive, pain-free treatment acting via electrostimulation of the brain. Electrodes are attached to specific areas of the scalp and modulate cortical activity by supplying direct current.
The basic principle of tDCS is a depolarization of nerve cell membranes, which is either induced by anodal tDCS or suppressed by cathodal tDCS. tDCS is very safe and patients generally do not complain about any unpleasant side effects or pain. Unlike transcranial magnetic stimulation, tDCS does not trigger epileptic seizures.
tDCS is also extremely easy to apply and new research is aiming to develop pre-set devices for home-use, which offers the opportunity to support rehabilitation measures, both, in health care institutions and at home.
During the last 15 years, research on tDCS has developed at a very fast pace. In 2002, about 10 studies were published in comparison to more than 700 in 2017 (Source: Pubmed Library). The focus was on post-stroke complications (especially recovery of motor functions, aphasia, dysphagia, and neglect) and stroke-related symptoms like post-stroke depression or post-stroke cognitive impairment.
A recently published stroke study reported a significantly better clinical outcome of patients who received double intervention (Cerebrolysin® and neurorehabilitation) as compared to patients who received single intervention (neurorehabilitation) (Muresanu et al. 2016). The application of tDCS represents a promising therapeutic option that is expected to provide further benefit to the patients in the recovery from stroke. Especially chronic stroke patients, who still have complications 3-12 months after stroke, might benefit from this combined therapeutic approach. The PREP algorithm allows identifying those chronic stroke patients, who still have a potential for further recovery (Stinear et al. 2012).
New research projects of EVER Pharma address stroke patients with residual recovery potential and assess the clinical benefit of combining different treatment strategies. First results shall be discussed at the European Stroke Organization Congress in Gothenburg on 17th May 2018 during the symposium organized by EVER Pharma and a poster session.