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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 837595, 6 pages
Clinical Study

The ABC of tDCS: Effects of Anodal, Bilateral and Cathodal Montages of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Patients with Stroke—A Pilot Study

1Clinical Laboratory of Experimental Neurorehabilitation, I.R.C.C.S. Santa Lucia Foundation, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Rome, Italy
2Operative Unit F, I.R.C.C.S. Santa Lucia Foundation, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Rome, Italy
3Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy

Received 20 July 2012; Revised 20 November 2012; Accepted 21 November 2012

Academic Editor: Antonio Oliviero

Copyright © 2013 A. Fusco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a noninvasive technique that is emerging as a prospective therapy for different neurologic disorders. Previous studies have demonstrated that anodal and cathodal stimulation can improve motor performance in terms of dexterity and manual force. The objective of this study was to determine whether different electrodes’ setups (anodal, cathodal, and simultaneous bilateral tDCS) provide different motor performance and which montage was more effective. As secondary outcome, we have asked to the patients about their satisfaction, and to determine if the bilateral tDCS was more uncomfortable than unilateral tDCS. Nine patients with stroke in subacute phase were enrolled in this study and randomly divided in three groups. Our results showed that tDCS was an effective treatment if compared to Sham stimulation ( ). In particular, anodal stimulation provided the higher improvement in terms of manual dexterity. Cathodal stimulation seemed to have a little effect in terms of force improvement, not observed with other setups. Bipolar stimulation seemed to be the less effective. No significant differences have been noted for the different set-ups for patients’ judgment. These results highlight the potential efficacy of tDCS for patients with stroke in subacute phase.