Post-stroke balance rehabilitation under multi-level electrotherapy: a conceptual review
BACKGROUND Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is an emerging non-invasive neuromodulation therapy in epilepsy with conflicting results in terms of efficacy and safety. OBJECTIVE Review the literature about the efficacy and safety of tDCS in epilepsy in humans and animals. METHODS We searched studies in PubMed, MedLine, Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar (January 1969 to October 2013) using the keywords 'transcranial direct current stimulation' or 'tDCS' or 'brain polarization' or 'galvanic stimulation' and 'epilepsy' in animals and humans. Original articles that reported tDCS safety and efficacy in epileptic animals or humans were included. Four review authors independently selected the studies, extracted data and assessed the methodological quality of the studies using the recommendations of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, PRISMA guidelines and Jadad Scale. A meta-analysis was not possible due to methodological, clinical and statistical heterogeneity of included studies. RESULTS We analyzed 9 articles with different methodologies (3 animals/6 humans) with a total of 174 stimulated individuals; 109 animals and 65 humans. In vivo and in vitro animal studies showed that direct current stimulation can successfully induce suppression of epileptiform activity without neurological injury and 4/6 (67%) clinical studies showed an effective decrease in epileptic seizures and 5/6 (83%) reduction of inter-ictal epileptiform activity. All patients tolerated tDCS well. CONCLUSIONS tDCS trials have demonstrated preliminary safety and efficacy in animals and patients with epilepsy. Further larger studies are needed to define the best stimulation protocols and long-term follow-up.