Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation as a Treatment Tool for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

SOURCE: Brain Sciences. 11 (6) (no pagination), 2021. Article Number: 806. Date of Publication: June 2021.

AUTHOR: Rudroff T.; Workman C.D.

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) has been defined as a transient (<24 h) condition of confusion and/or loss of consciousness for less than 30 min after brain injury and can result in short-and long-term motor and cognitive impairments. Recent studies have documented the therapeutic potential of non-invasive neuromodulation techniques for the enhancement of cognitive and motor function in mTBI. Alongside repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), the main technique used for this purpose is transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). The focus of this review was to provide a detailed, comprehensive (i.e., both cognitive and motor impairment) overview of the literature regarding therapeutic tDCS paradigms after mTBI. A publication search of the PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, and PsycINFO databases was performed to identify records that applied tDCS in mTBI. The publication search yielded 14,422 records from all of the databases, however, only three met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final review. Based on the review, there is limited evidence of tDCS improving cognitive and motor performance. Surprisingly, there were only three studies that used tDCS in mTBI, which highlights an urgent need for more research to provide additional insights into ideal therapeutic brain targets and optimized stimulation parameters.