Exploring the Prospects of Transcranial Electrical Stimulation (tES) as a Therapeutic Intervention for Post-Stroke Motor Recovery: A Narrative Review



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Introduction: Stroke survivors often have motor impairments and related functional deficits. Transcranial Electrical Stimulation (tES) is a rapidly evolving field that offers a wide range of capabilities for modulating brain function, and it is safe and inexpensive. It has the potential for widespread use for post-stroke motor recovery. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS), and Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation (tRNS) are three recognized tES techniques that have gained substantial attention in recent years but have different mechanisms of action. tDCS has been widely used in stroke motor rehabilitation, while applications of tACS and tRNS are very limited. The tDCS protocols could vary significantly, and outcomes are heterogeneous. Purpose: the current review attempted to explore the mechanisms underlying commonly employed tES techniques and evaluate their prospective advantages and challenges for their applications in motor recovery after stroke. Conclusion: tDCS could depolarize and hyperpolarize the potentials of cortical motor neurons, while tACS and tRNS could target specific brain rhythms and entrain neural networks. Despite the extensive use of tDCS, the complexity of neural networks calls for more sophisticated modifications like tACS and tRNS.




Brain Sciences 14 (4): 322 (2024)