Efficacy of transcranial alternating current stimulation over bilateral mastoids (tACSbm) on enhancing recovery of subacute post-stroke patients

Jun Fa Wu, Hai Jue Wang, Yi Wu, Fang Li, Yu Long Bai, Peng Yu Zhang, Che Hin Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aims: Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) offers another method of non-invasive brain stimulation in post-stroke rehabilitation. Because it is not known if tACS over bilateral mastoids (tACSbm) can promote the functional recovery in subacute post-stroke patients, we wish to learn the effect of tACSbmon improving neurological function and intracranial hemodynamics of subacute post-stroke patients. Methods: Sixty subacute post-stroke patients (mean age: 65.4 ± 9.8 years), 15 to 60 days after the onset, were randomly assigned to receiving 15 sessions of usual rehabilitation program without (n = 30) or with tACSbm(20 Hz and < 400 μA for 30-min; n = 30). The outcome measures included the NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and measures of intracranial hemodynamics before and after treatment. Results: At the fifteenth session, when compared with the baseline, the mean NIHSS scores of the patients in the tACSbmgroup had significantly a larger decrease [18.3 ± 2.6 vs. 10.8 ± 2.7; p < 0.001] than that of the control group [19.1 ± 2.7 vs. 13.0 ± 2.4] [F(1,54) = 4.29, p = 0.043]. After both the first and fifteenth sessions, compared with the control group, the mean blood flow velocity (MFVs) of the tACSbmgroup had significantly larger increase in the MCA, ACA, and PCA (p < 0.001), the Gosling pulsatility index (PI) of the tACSbmgroup had also significantly larger decline in the MCA, ACA, and PCA than that of the control group (p < 0.001). The best predictor of the changes in the NIHSS scores was the decline in the pulsatility index in the vascular territory of both lesional and non-lesional MCA measured by the end of the last treatment session. Conclusions: tACSbmappeared to be effective for enhancing patients’ functional recovery and cerebral hemodynamics in the subacute phase. The extent of recovery seems to be associated with the decline of the resistance in vascular bed of the main cerebral arteries. The mechanisms behind this effect should be explored further through research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-429
Number of pages10
JournalTopics in Stroke Rehabilitation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Electrical stimulation
  • Hemodynamic
  • Post-stroke rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Transcranial alternating current stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Community and Home Care
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this