brain stimulation

Noninvasive brain stimulation may help with walking ability: Analysis

A noninvasive brain stimulation technique called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can significantly improve walking abilities in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a pooled analysis of published studies. The technique was effective when applied to the main brain region called the primary motor cortex, which is involved…

Noninvasive Brain Stimulation Can Ease Some MS Symptoms: Review

Noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) may be able to reduce fatigue, spasticity, and pain, and improve quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a new meta-analysis reports. The review assessed several NIBS interventions targeting different brain regions. The results suggest that these techniques can have immediate effects…

PoNS Device Improves Walking Skills Early On, New Data Show

Using the portable neuromodulation stimulator (PoNS) device during a targeted exercise program significantly improves walking skills in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to recent real-word data. Notably, significant improvements were observed from the second week onward, and more than half of the 42 patients patients experienced clinically meaningful gains…

At-home Brain Stimulation Program Now Available

New York University (NYU) Langone Health has launched an at-home, therapeutic program of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) — a type of non-invasive brain stimulation — to reduce cognitive, motor, speech, or mood symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other brain disorders. A first of its kind, the…

National MS Society to Award $433,800 to Support 10 Pilot Research Projects

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society will award $433,800 to 10 high-risk pilot studies that will quickly evaluate new strategies and interventions and enhance knowledge about multiple sclerosis (MS). According to a press release, the award winners will address different aspects of the disease, including potential treatments for fatigue and loneliness, to improve patients' walking abilities, and a strategy to change gut bacteria effects in MS. The year-long Pilot Research Grant program is a way to support early-stage research projects to quickly test their effectiveness. The MS Society also said that additional projects will be awarded this year. Results of a recent survey of approximately 300 pilot grant recipients revealed the program successfully promotes new ideas and brings new researchers to the MS field. About 90 percent of the respondents agreed that the financial support was very important for their research project. In 85 percent of cases, the grant supported new ideas, and in 56 percent it allowed support for additional grants. These pilot grants allow researchers to obtain preliminary data so they can decide to apply for additional funding, if the project looks  promising, or to put the idea to rest.

Non-invasive Brain Stimulation Reduces MS-associated Cognitive Fatigue

One single session of non-invasive brain stimulation can reduce cognitive fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), say researchers at Germany’s Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg. Their study, “Electrophysiological and behavioral effects of frontal transcranial direct current stimulation on cognitive fatigue in multiple sclerosis,” appeared in the…

Therapy That Just Might Beat MS Fatigue

I’ve had a cold for two weeks. So, I’ve been more tired than usual. Too tired, in fact, to write the column that was supposed to post last Tuesday. (I apologize to all of you who wait, with bated breath, for the appearance of the MS Wire each…

Non-invasive Brain Stimulation Reduces MS Fatigue, NYU Study Shows

Non-invasive brain stimulation reduces fatigue in multiple sclerosis patients, concludes a study by researchers at New York University. Fatigue is one the most disabling symptoms of MS, affecting roughly 75 percent of people with the disease. Doctors often prescribe drugs to treat narcolepsy, as well as behavior-based treatments and exercise programs, but their benefits have not been consistent. This led scientists to study a technique of brain stimulation called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which had shown positive results in earlier neurology studies, including improvements of cognitive symptoms in MS. In tDCS, doctors place electrodes on the scalp via a headset to apply a low-amplitude electrical current at the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex — a brain region believed to play a role in fatigue and cognitive symptoms. The technique has been proven safe and tolerable. The NYU study randomly assigned 27 MS patients to receive either tDCS or placebo. Patients got treatment while playing a cognitive game directed at the brain’s processing speed and working memory. Sessions lasted 20 minutes each and took place five days a week, at patients’ homes. Participants reported their level of fatigue after 20 sessions, using a scale known as the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) that grades fatigue on a score of up to 32. A higher score correlates with more fatigue. The results showed a significant 5.6-point drop with tDCS, compared to a 0.9 point increase in the placebo group. Furthermore, patients may benefit from more sessions, since those who underwent 20 sessions reduced fatigue more than those who did only 10. The study also showed that patients with the most fatigue at baseline saw the biggest improvements. Remarkably, many participants reduced their fatigue to near-normal levels, researchers observed. Further studies are needed to ascertain the precise mechanism behind tDCS. Scientists believe it changes the brain’s excitability, which improves connections and facilitates learning. Meanwhile, the study's authors strongly advise MS patients not to try over-the-counter stimulation technologies outside of a reliable research setting. The research team plans to test tDCS in larger clinical trials for MS-related fatigue, motor and cognitive symptoms. Currently, the Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center at NYU Langone Health is the only one in the United States to offer tDCS to MS patients.