Background: In a randomized controlled type Ib study, the effectiveness of three different forms of therapy for the treatment of visual neglect was assessed by comparing therapy outcomes in three groups of patients after cerebrovascular accidents.
Methods: A control group received only standard exploration training, whilst the second and third group received exploration training combined with either contralateral transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) or optokinetic stimulation (OKS) respectively.
Results: It was found that exploration training alone resulted in no improvement on both standard neglect tests (NTs) and everyday-relevant measures of reading and writing performance. In contrast, the groups receiving TENS or OKS showed significant improvements in both sets of measures with the difference that for the TENS group the improvement in NT scores at the end of therapy had disappeared 1-week later. However, both treatments resulted in significant improvements in reading and writing which were still present upon retesting 1-week after the end of therapy.
Conclusion: Both methods can be recommended for neglect therapy and are superior to exploration therapy alone.