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Open Access Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation of the Left Prefrontal Cortex Improves Attention in Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury: A Pilot Study

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Objective: To determine whether a single session of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex improves attention in patients with traumatic brain injury.

Design: Double-blinded, cross-over design.

Patients: Nine patients with attention deficit after traumatic brain injury.

Methods: Patients underwent a computerized contrast reaction time task before and after the administration of real transcranial direct current stimulation (2 mA for 20 min) or sham transcranial direct current stimulation (2 mA for 1 min) to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in a double-blind, crossover manner.

Results: Immediately post-stimulation, the transcranial direct current stimulation group showed a tendency of shortened reaction time relative to baseline (87.3 ± 7.8%), whereas the sham stimulation group (122.4 ± 715.5%) did not (p = 0.056). However, this difference was not significant 3 or 24 h after stimulation (p > 0.05). The numbers of correct responses were not changed at any time after stimulation.

Conclusion: Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex improves attention compared with sham stimulation in patients with traumatic brain injury, which suggests a potential role for this intervention in improving attention during cognitive training after traumatic brain injury. A further prospective randomized trial is required to confirm the benefits conferred by transcranial direct current stimulation in this patient population.

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Keywords: ATTENTION; COGNITION; TRANS CRANIAL DIRECT CURRENT STIMULATION; TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine is the international peer-reviewed journal published in English, with at least 10 issues published per year.

    Original articles, reviews, case reports, short communications, special reports and letters to the editor are published, as also are editorials and book reviews. The journal strives to provide its readers with a variety of topics including: functional assessment and intervention studies, clinical studies in various patient groups, methodology in physical and rehabilitation medicine, epidemiological studies on disabling conditions and reports on vocational and sociomedical aspects of rehabilitation.

    The journal is read by a wide group of healthcare professionals including specialists in rehabilitation medicine, neurology, clinical neurophysiology, general medicine, psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers.

    Contributions from all parts of the world and from different professions in rehabilitation are welcome.

    ISI Impact Factor 2009: 1.882.

    Owned by Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.

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