Bilateral transcranial direct current stimulation may be a feasible treatment of Parkinsonian tremor

Bin Zhang, Feifei Huang, Jun Liu, Dingguo Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Parkinsonian tremor is a common pathological tremor that affects over 6 million people worldwide. It lowers patients' quality of life and threatens their career development, especially when patients' occupation requires dexterous manipulation. In spite of current available treatments in clinics, there is a lack of low-cost, low side-effect, effective solutions for Parkinsonian tremor. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may be an alternative treatment. Objective: In this research, we explored the immediate effect of tDCS with a novel bilateral electrode setup over Parkinsonian tremor. In such a bilateral setup, the cathode was placed over the primary cortex contralateral to the more affected side of Parkinsonian tremor while the anode symmetrically over the other hemisphere. It was designed as a modification to the traditional cathodal setup. The performance of this bilateral setup was compared with three other setups including anodal setup, cathodal setup, and sham (control). Methods: A randomized, sham-controlled, double-blind, crossover experiment was carried out over 13 qualified patients diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). Before and after the stimulus of each tDCS setup, subjects were tested before and after tDCS with four measures, including the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale (FTMTRS), Purdue Pegboard Test (PPT) and a self-design Continuous Tremor Signal Assessment (CTSA). Tremor intensity calculated from CTSA data were regarded as the primary outcome of the experiment. Results: Statistical results of CTSA, FTMTRS and PPT showed both bilateral tDCS and cathodal tDCS effectively suppressed Parkinsonian tremor. A quantitative comparison of the effect in tremor suppression indicated the optimal suppressive effect was obtained with bilateral tDCS. Based on the results of UPDRS, anodal tDCS was found to benefit subjects' overall performance the most, however, it had little effect in improving Parkinsonian tremor, as revealed by the results of other evaluations. Conclusion: Our study suggests a beneficial immediate effect of bilateral tDCS in Parkinsonian tremor suppression. In addition, we assume there may be an underlying interhemispheric unbalance of cortical excitability which contributes to Parkinsonian tremor genesis. Clinical trial registration: Identifier: ChiCTR2100054804.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1101751
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2023


  • electrode setups
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Parkinsonian tremor
  • transcranial direct current stimulation
  • tremor suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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