Effects Of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation On Gait In People With Parkinson’s Disease

Effects Of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation On Gait In People With Parkinson’s Disease

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is widely used in neuroscientific and clinical research and is known to improve movement abilities in people with and without Parkinson’s disease (PD). The aim of this research project is to examine whether gait and balance can be improved in people with and without PD using transcranial Direct Current Stimulation.

Eligible participants:
The study requires people with and without PD, 18-80 years old who are able to walk without assistance. You should not be pregnant, have uncontrolled blood pressure (hypotension or hypertension), any musculoskeletal disorders, functional limitations associated with osteoporosis, or have had orthopaedic surgery within the last 12 months. You should not have had brain surgery, have no metal implants in your head, have no history of epilepsy, migraines or neural trauma and should not be taking any psychoactive medications.

The research will be conducted at the Institute of Health & Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), 60 Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove. Participation will involve four visits as follows:

Visit 1 (60 minutes): Clinical Assessment

  • Cognitive function assessment
  • Visual function tests
  • Lower Limb sensation
  • Clinical balance and mobility tests

Visit 2-4 (120 minutes, each visit): gait and muscle activity recording and intervention
Your walking gait will be recorded by a motion capture system while you are walking over ground. At the same time, muscle activity will be examined using surface Electromyography which requires electrodes to be placed over your leg muscles. This may require some hair to be shaved from the skin over your leg muscles using single-use disposal safety razor. After recording gait and muscle activity, electrodes will be placed on your head and you will be asked to walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes at your comfortable speed. While you will have electrodes placed on your head, you may experience a brief tingling sensation which arrives from the battery driven stimulator. This stimulation is only increased to 1 mA over 10 seconds in two of the three intervention sessions and continues for 20 minutes. For the other session, stimulation will be stopped after 10 seconds.

In each session, immediately after applying tDCS, gait and muscle activity recordings and clinical balance tests will be repeated.

For more information or if you would like to participate in the study please contact Mrs Vida Alizad on 07 3138 6304 or email v.alizad@qut.edu.au.

Please note that this study has been approved by the QUT Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number 1500001094).

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