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      Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to Facilitate Lower Limb Recovery Following Stroke: Current Evidence and Future Directions

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          Abstract

          Stroke remains a global leading cause of disability. Novel treatment approaches are required to alleviate impairment and promote greater functional recovery. One potential candidate is transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which is thought to non-invasively promote neuroplasticity within the human cortex by transiently altering the resting membrane potential of cortical neurons. To date, much work involving tDCS has focused on upper limb recovery following stroke. However, lower limb rehabilitation is important for regaining mobility, balance, and independence and could equally benefit from tDCS. The purpose of this review is to discuss tDCS as a technique to modulate brain activity and promote recovery of lower limb function following stroke. Preliminary evidence from both healthy adults and stroke survivors indicates that tDCS is a promising intervention to support recovery of lower limb function. Studies provide some indication of both behavioral and physiological changes in brain activity following tDCS. However, much work still remains to be performed to demonstrate the clinical potential of this neuromodulatory intervention. Future studies should consider treatment targets based on individual lesion characteristics, stage of recovery (acute vs. chronic), and residual white matter integrity while accounting for known determinants and biomarkers of tDCS response.

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          Most cited references 63

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          Influence of interhemispheric interactions on motor function in chronic stroke.

          In patients with chronic stroke, the primary motor cortex of the intact hemisphere (M1(intact hemisphere)) may influence functional recovery, possibly through transcallosal effects exerted over M1 in the lesioned hemisphere (M1(lesioned hemisphere)). Here, we studied interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) between M1(intact hemisphere) and M1(lesioned hemisphere) in the process of generation of a voluntary movement by the paretic hand in patients with chronic subcortical stroke and in healthy volunteers. IHI was evaluated in both hands preceding the onset of unilateral voluntary index finger movements (paretic hand in patients, right hand in controls) in a simple reaction time paradigm. IHI at rest and shortly after the Go signal were comparable in patients and controls. Closer to movement onset, IHI targeting the moving index finger turned into facilitation in controls but remained deep in patients, a finding that correlated with poor motor performance. These results document an abnormally high interhemispheric inhibitory drive from M1(intact hemisphere) to M1(lesioned hemisphere) in the process of generation of a voluntary movement by the paretic hand. It is conceivable that this abnormality could adversely influence motor recovery in some patients with subcortical stroke, an interpretation consistent with models of interhemispheric competition in motor and sensory systems.
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            Determinants of the induction of cortical plasticity by non-invasive brain stimulation in healthy subjects.

            The ability to induce cortical plasticity with non-invasive brain stimulation (NBS) techniques has provided novel and exciting opportunities for examining the role of the human cortex during a variety of behaviours. Additionally, and importantly, the induction of lasting changes in cortical excitability can, under some conditions, reversibly modify behaviour and interact with normal learning. Such findings have driven a large number of recent studies examining whether by using such approaches it might be possible to induce functionally significant changes in patients with a large variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions including stroke, Parkinson's disease and depression. However, even in neurologically normal subjects the variability in the neurophysiological and behavioural response to such brain stimulation techniques is high. This variability at present limits the therapeutic usefulness of these techniques. The cause of this variability is multifactorial and to some degree still unknown. However, a number of factors that can influence the induction of plasticity have been identified. This review will summarise what is known about the causes of variability in healthy subjects and propose additional factors that are likely to be important determinants. A greater understanding of these determinants is critical for optimising the therapeutic applications of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques.
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              THE ACTION OF BRIEF POLARIZING CURRENTS ON THE CEREBRAL CORTEX OF THE RAT (1) DURING CURRENT FLOW AND (2) IN THE PRODUCTION OF LONG-LASTING AFTER-EFFECTS.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Brain Sci
                Brain Sci
                brainsci
                Brain Sciences
                MDPI
                2076-3425
                21 May 2020
                May 2020
                : 10
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin—La Crosse, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA
                [2 ]IIMPACT in Health, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia; brenton.hordacre@ 123456unisa.edu.au
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: gowan.samuel@ 123456gmail.com ; Tel.: +61-8-83021286
                Article
                brainsci-10-00310
                10.3390/brainsci10050310
                7287858
                32455671
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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