Non-invasive brain stimulation in Stroke patients (NIBS): A prospective randomized open blinded end-point (PROBE) feasibility trial using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in post-stroke hemispatial neglect

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Gemma Learmonth
  • Christopher S.Y. Benwell
  • Gesine Märker
  • Diana Dascalu
  • Celestine Santosh
  • Mark Barber
  • Matthew Walters
  • Keith W. Muir
  • Monika Harvey


ABSTRACTUp to 80% of people who experience a right-hemisphere stroke suffer from hemispatial neglect. This syndrome is debilitating and impedes rehabilitation. We carried out a clinical feasibility trial of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and a behavioural rehabilitation programme, alone or in combination, in patients with neglect. Patients >4 weeks post right hemisphere stroke were randomized to 10 sessions of tDCS, 10 sessions of a behavioural intervention, combined intervention, or a control task. Primary outcomes were recruitment and retention rates, with secondary outcomes effect sizes on measures of neglect and quality of life, assessed directly after the interventions, and at 6 months follow up. Of 288 confirmed stroke cases referred (representing 7% of confirmed strokes), we randomized 8% (0.6% of stroke cases overall). The largest number of exclusions (91/288 (34%)) were due to medical comorbidities that prevented patients from undergoing 10 intervention sessions. We recruited 24 patients over 29 months, with 87% completing immediate post-intervention and 67% 6 month evaluations. We established poor feasibility of a clinical trial requiring repeated hospital-based tDCS within a UK hospital healthcare setting, either with or without behavioural training, over a sustained time period. Future trials should consider intensity, duration and location of tDCS neglect interventions.Trial registration: identifier: NCT02401724.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2020