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A New Approach to Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Improving Cognitive Motor Learning and Hand Function with the Nintendo Switch in Stroke Survivors

JaeEun Kim, MiYoung Lee, JongEun Yim

Department of Physical Therapy, Graduate School of Sahmyook University, Seoul, South Korea

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:9555-9562

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.921081

Available online:

Published: 2019-12-14

BACKGROUND: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) technique designed to improve cognitive and physical function of stroke survivors. There are many studies being conducted in the search for an effective intervention of tDCS. This study focused on cognitive motor learning in relation to hand function of stroke survivors.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We enrolled 30 subjects with cognitive and hand function disorders. The participants in each group were inpatients at a hospital in Korea and had undergone neurorehabilitation training (60 min). Groups 1 and 3 had tDCS applied for 20 min, while group 2 received sham tDCS for the same duration. Afterwards, groups 1 and 2 played Nintendo games for 20 min, but group 3 did not. The total intervention period was 40 min/day, 2 days/week, for 8 weeks. The cognitive and hand function of the subjects were assessed using the Trail Making Test (TMT-A, TMT-B), Grip strength, Box and Block Test (BBT), and the Manual Function Test (MFT) before and after intervention.
RESULTS: The tDCS + Nintendo Switch game group showed significant differences in TMT-A, TMT-B, Grip strength, MFT, and BBT results compared to the other groups between before and after intervention (p<.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that inclusion of motor tasks with the application of tDCS may be effective in improving cognitive and hand function of stroke survivors.

Keywords: Cognition, Hand Strength, Stroke