Cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation in patients with ataxia: A double-blind, randomized, sham-controlled study

Mov Disord. 2015 Oct;30(12):1701-5. doi: 10.1002/mds.26356. Epub 2015 Aug 14.


Background and objective: Numerous studies have highlighted the possibility of modulating the excitability of cerebellar circuits using transcranial direct current stimulation. The present study investigated whether a single session of cerebellar anodal transcranial direct current stimulation could improve symptoms in patients with ataxia.

Methods: Nineteen patients with ataxia underwent a clinical and functional evaluation pre- and post-double-blind, randomized, sham, or anodal transcranial direct current stimulation.

Results: There was a significant interaction between treatment and time on the Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia, on the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale, on the 9-Hole Peg Test, and on the 8-Meter Walking Time (P < 0.001). At the end of the sessions, all performance scores were significantly different in the sham trial, compared to the intervention trial.

Conclusions: A single session of anodal cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation can transiently improve symptoms in patients with ataxia and might represent a promising tool for future rehabilitative approaches.

Keywords: cerebellar ataxia; cerebellar stimulation; transcranial direct current stimulation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Ataxia / therapy*
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation / methods*
  • Walking