Background and aims: Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) offers another method of non-invasive brain stimulation in post-stroke rehabilitation. Because it is not known if tACS over bilateral mastoids (tACSbm) can promote the functional recovery in subacute post-stroke patients, we wish to learn the effect of tACSbm on improving neurological function and intracranial hemodynamics of subacute post-stroke patients.
Methods: Sixty subacute post-stroke patients (mean age: 65.4 ± 9.8 years), 15 to 60 days after the onset, were randomly assigned to receiving 15 sessions of usual rehabilitation program without (n = 30) or with tACSbm (20 Hz and < 400 μA for 30-min; n = 30). The outcome measures included the NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and measures of intracranial hemodynamics before and after treatment.
Results: At the fifteenth session, when compared with the baseline, the mean NIHSS scores of the patients in the tACSbm group had significantly a larger decrease [18.3 ± 2.6 vs. 10.8 ± 2.7; p < 0.001] than that of the control group [19.1 ± 2.7 vs. 13.0 ± 2.4] [F(1,54) = 4.29, p = 0.043]. After both the first and fifteenth sessions, compared with the control group, the mean blood flow velocity (MFVs) of the tACSbm group had significantly larger increase in the MCA, ACA, and PCA (p < 0.001), the Gosling pulsatility index (PI) of the tACSbm group had also significantly larger decline in the MCA, ACA, and PCA than that of the control group (p < 0.001). The best predictor of the changes in the NIHSS scores was the decline in the pulsatility index in the vascular territory of both lesional and non-lesional MCA measured by the end of the last treatment session.
Conclusions: tACSbm appeared to be effective for enhancing patients' functional recovery and cerebral hemodynamics in the subacute phase. The extent of recovery seems to be associated with the decline of the resistance in vascular bed of the main cerebral arteries. The mechanisms behind this effect should be explored further through research. Copyright © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
CitationWu, J.-F., Wang, H.-J., Wu, Y., Li, F., Bai, Y.-L., Zhang, P.-Y., & Chan, C. C. H. (2016). Efficacy of transcranial alternating current stimulation over bilateral mastoids (tACSbm) on enhancing recovery of subacute post-stroke patients. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 23(6), 420-429. doi: 10.1080/10749357.2016.1175218
- Transcranial alternating current stimulation
- Electrical stimulation
- Post-stroke rehabilitation