Home Use, Remotely Supervised, and Remotely Controlled Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation: A Systematic Review of the Available Evidence

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Abstract

Objectives:

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is gaining growing importance in the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders and is currently investigated for home-based and remotely supervised applications.

Methods:

Here, we systematically review the available evidence from a database search (PubMed, ICTRP, clinicaltrials.gov) from January 2000 to May 2017.

Results:

We detected 22 original research papers, trial protocols or trial registrations dealing with tDCS as an add-on intervention to cognitive or physiotherapeutic intervention. Overall, study samples are small; many studies are single-blinded and focus on feasibility and safety. There are two guideline papers setting basic requirements for clinical trials.

Conclusions:

Further research needs to focus on home-based treatment from different viewpoints, that is, safety, technical monitoring, reproducibility of repeated applications, feasibility of combined interventions and systematic assessment of efficacy, and safety in large randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs). However, remotely controlled and supervised tDCS for home use represents a promising approach for widespread use of noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) in clinical care.

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