Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has the potential to improve motor function in a range of neurological conditions, including Cerebral Palsy (CP). Although there have been many studies assessing tDCS in adult stroke, the literature regarding the efficacy of tDCS in CP is more limited. This review therefore focuses on the neurophysiological and clinical findings in children and adolescents with CP. Initial studies applying anodal tDCS to promote lower limb function are promising, with improvements in gait, mobility and balance reported. However, the results of upper limb studies are mixed and more research is needed. Studies investigating neurophysiological changes or predictors of response are also lacking. Large-scale longitudinal studies are needed for the lower limb to ascertain whether the initial pilot results translate into clinically meaningful improvements. Future studies of the upper limb should focus on determining the optimal stimulation parameters and consider tailoring stimulation to the individual based on the (re)organisation of their motor system.
J Neuroeng Rehabil
Brain stimulation, Cerebral palsy, Lower limb, Motor function, Transcranial direct current stimulation, Upper limb