J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 81:1061 doi:10.1136/jnnp.2010.205112
  • Editorial commentary

Transcranial direct current stimulation as a treatment for Parkinson's disease—interesting, but not ready for prime time

  1. Robert Chen
  1. Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, and Toronto Western Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert Chen, 7MC-411, Toronto Western Hospital, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2S8, Canada; robert.chen{at}
  • Accepted 2 February 2010
  • Published Online First 19 June 2010

In this issue (see page 1105), Benninger et al1 report the results of a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of eight sessions of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over 2.5 weeks in 25 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). They did not find any significant improvement in gait, which was the primary outcome. However, bradykinesia measured by timed tests was improved for up to 3 months after treatment. There was no significant change in the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scores except for a composite bradykinesia score at one time point, probably because timed tests are more sensitive than UPDRS ratings in detecting changes in bradykinesia. The study shows that tDCS as applied by the authors is not a useful treatment for PD because of the …

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