High-Definition Transcranial Direct Current with Electrical Theta Burst on Post-Stroke Motor Rehabilitation: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Yi Jing Huang, Shun Min Wang, Chieh Chen, Chien An Chen, Chun Wei Wu, Jia Jin Chen, Chih Wei Peng, Che Wei Lin, Shih Wei Huang, Shih Ching Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: High-definition transcranial electrical theta burst superimposing direct current stimulation (HD-tDCS-eTBS) not only incorporates the therapeutic advantages of tDCS and TBS but enhances stimulation focality and practicality. However, the applicability of this innovative neuromodulatory device in post-stroke rehabilitation remains uncertain. Objective: This study aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of the HD-tDCS-eTBS on upper extremity (UE) motor function in patients with chronic stroke. Methods: A patient-blinded, randomized controlled study was conducted. Twenty-four participants were randomly assigned into either the active HD-tDCS-eTBS group or sham HD-tDCS-eTBS group. Both groups received 20 minutes of active/sham HD-tDCS-eTBS combined with 30 minutes of conventional UE rehabilitation each time, 3 times a week for 4 weeks. Outcome measures including the Fugl-Meyer Assessment of Upper Extremity, Wolf Motor Function Test, Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function Test, Finger-Nose Test, and Modified Ashworth Scale were assessed before and immediately after the intervention period. Results: Spasticity of shoulder adductor (P =.05), elbow extensor (P =.04), and thumb flexor (P <.01) were significantly reduced in the active HD-tDCS-eTBS group versus the sham group. Nonsignificant trends in the improvements of most other outcome measures were in favor of the active HD-tDCS-eTBS group with moderate to large effect sizes (P =.06–.26, ηp2 = 0.06–0.16). No severe adverse events except for slight skin redness under the stimulus electrode was detected after the HD-tDCS-eTBS. Conclusions: Our findings support that HD-tDCS-eTBS is safe and has therapeutic potential for post-stroke UE motor rehabilitation. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (ID: NCT04278105).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-654
Number of pages10
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Sept

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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