Study protocol of transcranial electrical stimulation at alpha frequency applied during rehabilitation: A randomized controlled trial in chronic stroke patients with visuospatial neglect

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BACKGROUND: A frequent post stroke disorder in lateralized attention is visuospatial neglect (VSN). As VSN has a strong negative impact on recovery in general and independence during daily life, optimal treatment is deemed urgent. Next to traditional stroke treatment, non-invasive brain stimulation offers the potential to facilitate stroke recovery as a complementary approach. In the present study, visual scanning training (VST; the current conventional treatment) will be combined with transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) to evaluate the additive effects of repeated sessions of tACS in combination with six-weeks VST rehabilitation.

METHODS: In this double-blind randomized placebo-controlled intervention study (RCT), we will compare the effects of active tACS plus VST to sham (placebo) tACS plus VST, both encompassing 18 VST training sessions, 40 minutes each, during 6 weeks. Chronic stroke patients with VSN (> 6 months post-stroke onset) are considered eligible for study participation. In total 22 patients are needed for the study. The primary outcome is change in performance on a cancellation task. Secondary outcomes are changes in performance on a visual detection task, two line bisection tasks, and three measures to assess changes in activities of daily living. Assessment is at baseline, directly after the first and ninth training session, after the last training session (post training), and 1 week and 3 months after termination of the training (follow-up).

DISCUSSION: If effective, a tACS-VST rehabilitation program could be implemented as a treatment option for VSN.

Original languageEnglish
Article number402
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2022


  • Humans
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation/methods
  • Stroke Rehabilitation/methods
  • Perceptual Disorders/etiology
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Visual Perception/physiology
  • Stroke/complications
  • Brain Damage, Chronic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic

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