Can we improve pain and sleep in elderly individuals with transcranial direct current stimulation? - Results from a randomized controlled pilot study.

TitreCan we improve pain and sleep in elderly individuals with transcranial direct current stimulation? - Results from a randomized controlled pilot study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHarvey M-P, Lorrain D, Martel M, Bergeron-Vezina K, Houde F, Séguin M, Léonard G
JournalClin Interv Aging
Volume12
Pagination937-947
Date Published2017
ISSN1178-1998
Abstract

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of chronic pain and sleep disturbances substantially increases with age. Pharmacotherapy remains the primary treatment option for these health issues. However, side effects and drug interactions are difficult to control in elderly individuals.AIMS: The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of conducting a randomized sham-controlled trial and to collect preliminary data on the efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to reduce pain and improve sleep in older adults suffering from chronic pain.METHODS: Fourteen elderly individuals (mean age 71±7 years) suffering from chronic pain and sleep complaints were randomized to receive either anodal tDCS, applied over the primary motor cortex (2 mA, 20 minutes), or sham tDCS, for 5 consecutive days. Pain was measured with visual analog scales, pain logbooks and questionnaires, while sleep was assessed with actigraphy, sleep diaries and questionnaires.RESULTS: There were no missing data for pain and sleep measures, except for actigraphy, that generated several missing data. Blinding was maintained throughout the study, for both the evaluator and participants. Active but not sham tDCS significantly reduced pain (P<0.05). No change was observed in sleep parameters, in both the active and sham tDCS groups (all P≥0.18).CONCLUSION: The present study provides guidelines for the implementation of future tDCS studies in larger populations of elderly individuals. M1 anodal tDCS in this population appears to be effective to reduce pain, but not to improve sleep.

DOI10.2147/CIA.S133423
Alternate JournalClin Interv Aging
PubMed ID28652716
PubMed Central IDPMC5472413