Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Plus Physical Therapy on Gait in Patients With Parkinson Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of the study was to study the combined effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and physical therapy on the walking ability of patients with Parkinson disease (PD).

Study Design

The study used an experimental, double-blinded, randomized controlled trial.

Results

After intervention, group 1 (only tDCS) demonstrated a significant increase in gait speed by 0.13 to 0.14 m/sec (17.8%–19.2%) and an increase in step length by 5.9 to 6.1 cm (14.0%–14.5%), whereas group 2 (tDCS and physical therapy) revealed a significant increase in gait speed by 0.10 to 0.13 m/sec (14.9%–19.4%) and step length by 4.5 to 5.4 cm (10.6%–12.8%) and group 3 (sham tDCS and physical therapy) showed a significant increase in gait speed by 0.09 to 0.14 m/sec (13.0%–20.3%) and step length by 3.0 to 5.4 cm (6.8%–12.3%). All these results lasted for at least 8 wks after intervention. Upon comparing the parameters of gait among the three groups at every follow-up visit, no significant difference was observed.

Conclusions

Anodal tDCS or physical therapy could be used alone or together as a combination treatment to improve the walking speed of patients with Parkinson disease. The effects lasted for approximately 8 wks. The combination treatment was not superior to the use of tDCS or physical therapy alone.

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