Understanding negative results in tDCS research: The importance of neural targeting and cortical engagement

Aurore Thibaut, Ross Zafonte, Leslie R. Morse, Felipe Fregni

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

In a recent clinical trial we demonstrated the analgesic effects of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI); however, the positive impact of tDCS on pain was not paralleled by an improvement in quality of life or other related clinical scales. Here we discuss the reasons of such negative results and present hypotheses that could explain why tDCS had no impact on patients' quality of life, while their average level of pain decreased. We will also discuss how these negative findings can help to design future clinical trial using tDCS to treat individuals with chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number707
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume11
Issue numberDEC
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 12 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant numbers 90DP0035 and H133N110010)

Keywords

  • Brain networks
  • Clinical trial design and conduct
  • Neural engagement
  • Neuromodulation
  • tDCS

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