Cerebellar ataxias represent a heterogeneous group of disabling disorders characterized by motor and cognitive disturbances, for which no effective treatment is currently available. In this randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial, followed by an open-label phase, we investigated whether treatment with cerebello-spinal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) could improve both motor and cognitive symptoms in patients with neurodegenerative ataxia at short and long-term. Sixty-one patients were randomized in two groups for the first controlled phase. At baseline (T0), Group 1 received placebo stimulation (sham tDCS) while Group 2 received anodal cerebellar tDCS and cathodal spinal tDCS (real tDCS) for 5 days/week for 2 weeks (T1), with a 12-week (T2) follow-up (randomized, double-blind, sham controlled phase). At the 12-week follow-up (T2), all patients (Group 1 and Group 2) received a second treatment of anodal cerebellar tDCS and cathodal spinal tDCS (real tDCS) for 5 days/week for 2 weeks, with a 14-week (T3), 24-week (T4), 36-week (T5) and 52-week follow-up (T6) (open-label phase). At each time point, a clinical, neuropsychological and neurophysiological evaluation was performed. Cerebellar-motor cortex connectivity was evaluated using transcranial magnetic stimulation. We observed a significant improvement in all motor scores (scale for the assessment and rating of ataxia, international cooperative ataxia rating scale), in cognition (evaluated with the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome scale), in quality-of-life scores, in motor cortex excitability and in cerebellar inhibition after real tDCS compared to sham stimulation and compared to baseline (T0), both at short and long-term. We observed an addon-effect after two repeated treatments with real tDCS compared to a single treatment with real tDCS. The improvement at motor and cognitive scores correlated with the restoration of cerebellar inhibition evaluated with transcranial magnetic stimulation. Cerebello-spinal tDCS represents a promising therapeutic approach for both motor and cognitive symptoms in patients with neurodegenerative ataxia, a still orphan disorder of any pharmacological intervention.

Motor and cognitive outcomes of cerebello-spinal stimulation in neurodegenerative ataxia / Benussi, Alberto; Cantoni, Valentina; Manes, Marta; Libri, Ilenia; Dell'Era, Valentina; Datta, Abhishek; Thomas, Chris; Ferrari, Camilla; Di Fonzo, Alessio; Fancellu, Roberto; Grassi, Mario; Brusco, Alfredo; Alberici, Antonella; Borroni, Barbara. - In: BRAIN. - ISSN 1460-2156. - ELETTRONICO. - 144:(2021), pp. 2310-2321. [10.1093/brain/awab157]

Motor and cognitive outcomes of cerebello-spinal stimulation in neurodegenerative ataxia

Cantoni, Valentina;Ferrari, Camilla;
2021

Abstract

Cerebellar ataxias represent a heterogeneous group of disabling disorders characterized by motor and cognitive disturbances, for which no effective treatment is currently available. In this randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial, followed by an open-label phase, we investigated whether treatment with cerebello-spinal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) could improve both motor and cognitive symptoms in patients with neurodegenerative ataxia at short and long-term. Sixty-one patients were randomized in two groups for the first controlled phase. At baseline (T0), Group 1 received placebo stimulation (sham tDCS) while Group 2 received anodal cerebellar tDCS and cathodal spinal tDCS (real tDCS) for 5 days/week for 2 weeks (T1), with a 12-week (T2) follow-up (randomized, double-blind, sham controlled phase). At the 12-week follow-up (T2), all patients (Group 1 and Group 2) received a second treatment of anodal cerebellar tDCS and cathodal spinal tDCS (real tDCS) for 5 days/week for 2 weeks, with a 14-week (T3), 24-week (T4), 36-week (T5) and 52-week follow-up (T6) (open-label phase). At each time point, a clinical, neuropsychological and neurophysiological evaluation was performed. Cerebellar-motor cortex connectivity was evaluated using transcranial magnetic stimulation. We observed a significant improvement in all motor scores (scale for the assessment and rating of ataxia, international cooperative ataxia rating scale), in cognition (evaluated with the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome scale), in quality-of-life scores, in motor cortex excitability and in cerebellar inhibition after real tDCS compared to sham stimulation and compared to baseline (T0), both at short and long-term. We observed an addon-effect after two repeated treatments with real tDCS compared to a single treatment with real tDCS. The improvement at motor and cognitive scores correlated with the restoration of cerebellar inhibition evaluated with transcranial magnetic stimulation. Cerebello-spinal tDCS represents a promising therapeutic approach for both motor and cognitive symptoms in patients with neurodegenerative ataxia, a still orphan disorder of any pharmacological intervention.
144
2310
2321
Benussi, Alberto; Cantoni, Valentina; Manes, Marta; Libri, Ilenia; Dell'Era, Valentina; Datta, Abhishek; Thomas, Chris; Ferrari, Camilla; Di Fonzo, Alessio; Fancellu, Roberto; Grassi, Mario; Brusco, Alfredo; Alberici, Antonella; Borroni, Barbara
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2158/1277685
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