Background: Cerebellar and motor tracts are frequently impaired in multiple sclerosis (MS). Altered hand dexterity constitutes a challenge in clinical practice, since medical treatment shows very limited benefits in this domain. Cerebellar control is made via several cerebellocortical pathways, of which the most studied one links the cerebellum to the contralateral motor cortex via the contralateral ventro-intermediate nucleus of the thalamus influencing the corticospinal outputs. Modulating the activity of the cerebellum or of the motor cortex could be of help. Method: The main interest here is to evaluate the efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive brain stimulation technique, in treating altered dexterity in MS. Forty-eight patients will be recruited in a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled, and crossover study. They will randomly undergo one of the three interventions: anodal tDCS over the primary motor area, cathodal tDCS over the cerebellum, or sham. Each block consists of five consecutive daily sessions with direct current (2 mA), lasting 20 min each. The primary outcome will be the improvement in manual dexterity according to the change in the time required to complete the nine-hole pegboard task. Secondary outcomes will include fatigue, pain, spasticity, and mood. Patients’ safety and satisfaction will be rated. Discussion: Due to its cost-effective, safe, and easy-to-use profile, motor or cerebellar tDCS may constitute a potential tool that might improve dexterity in MS patients and therefore ameliorate their quality of life.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited