Brain Stimulation and Hand Training in Children With Hemiparesis

Active, not recruiting

Phase N/A Results N/A

Trial Description

Hemiparetic cerebral palsy influences motor function in children during development and throughout their lifetime. The deficits one sees are the result both of the congenitally induced brain lesion and the subsequent plasticity that can impair function of the surviving neurons in the damaged brain.
Many current treatments have limited influence on children's neurorecovery. Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) involving constraining the unaffected limb to encourage use of the affected limb has shown promise, yet with new technology revealing the potential to directly influence the brain, there is an urgent need to study the synergy of combined techniques.
Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) as a direct neuromodulatory intervention has the potential to act synergistically with CIMT to influence neurorecovery.
Combining behavioral therapies, constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT), with a novel form of neuromodulation, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), we investigated the influence of this intervention on improved motor outcomes in children with cerebral palsy. The study hypotheses surround the safety, feasibility and efficacy of combined CIMT and tDCS wherein those children who receive the combined intervention will reveal no major adverse events, yet improved hand function and cortical excitability.
To Note: In addition to the combination of NIBS with CIMT, we also investigated the combination of NIBS with another form of motor intervention, bimanual, or two-handed, training. During bimanual training, children engage both hands in movements. The goal of bimanual training is to teach children how to most effectively use their hands cooperatively. During bimanual training, children play with games and toys that require the use of both hands. Children also practice activities of daily living that require the use of both hands, such as putting hair in a ponytail, tying shoes, and buttoning clothing. N=8 for this pilot study and no randomization. (Burke Medical Research Institute partnered with Columbia University and did a parallel pilot study. N=8 (PIs Friel and Gordon; Protocol BRC449)

Detailed Description

We use single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to measure the location and strength of brain connections that control hand movements.



  • Placebo Comparator Biological
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: tDCS sham/CIMT
    Description: Placebo Group will receive 20 minutes of sham 1.0 mA tDCS to the contralesional hemisphere concurrent with CIMT.
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) Device
    Other Names: tDCS; Brain Stimulation
    Intervention Desc: 10 tDCS/CIMT Sessions
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: tDCS/CIMT
    Description: Intervention Group will receive 20 minutes of 1.0 mA tDCS to the contralesional hemisphere concurrent with CIMT.

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator)
  • Purpose: Treatment
  • Endpoint: Safety/Efficacy Study
  • Intervention: Parallel Assignment


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary Assisting Hand Assessment Baseline, 2 weeks and 6 months No
Secondary Canadian Occupational Performance Measurement Baseline, 2 weeks and 6 months No