Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a complex pain disorder, characterized by diffuse pain and cognitive disturbances. Abnormal cortical oscillatory activity may be a promising biomarker, encouraging non-invasive neurostimulation techniques as a treatment. We aimed to modulate abnormal slow cortical oscillations by delivering transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) and physiotherapy to reduce pain and cognitive symptoms. This was a double-blinded, randomized, crossover trial conducted between February and September 2018 at the Rehabilitation Unit of a teaching Hospital (NCT03221413). Participants were randomly assigned to tACS or random noise stimulation (RNS), 5days/week for 2weeks followed by ad hoc physiotherapy. Clinical and cognitive assessments were performed at T0 (baseline), T1 (after stimulation), T2 (1month after stimulation). Electroencephalogram (EEG) spectral topographies recorded from 15 participants confirmed slow-rhythm prevalence and provided tACS tailored stimulation parameters and electrode sites. Following tACS, EEG alpha1 ([8-10] Hz) activity increased at T1 (p=0.024) compared to RNS, pain symptoms assessed by Visual Analog Scale decreased at T1 (T1 vs T0 p=0.010), self-reported cognitive skills and neuropsychological scores improved both at T1 and T2 (Patient-Reported Outcomes in Cognitive Impairment, T0-T2, p=0.024; Everyday memory questionnaire, T1 compared to RNS, p=0.012; Montreal Cognitive Assessment, T0 vs T1, p=0.048 and T0 vs T2, p=0.009; Trail Making Test B T0-T2, p=0.034). Psychopathological scales and other neuropsychological scores (Trail Making Test-A; Total Phonemic Fluency; Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised; Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure) improved both after tACS and RNS but earlier improvements (T1) were registered only after tACS. These results support tACS coupled with physiotherapy in treating FMS cognitive symptoms, pain and subclinical psychopathology.

Beyond physiotherapy and pharmacological treatment for fibromyalgia syndrome: tailored tACS as a new therapeutic tool

Bernardi, Laura;Bertuccelli, Margherita;Formaggio, Emanuela;Rubega, Maria;Bosco, Gerardo;Tenconi, Elena;Cattelan, Manuela;Masiero, Stefano;Del Felice, Alessandra
2020

Abstract

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a complex pain disorder, characterized by diffuse pain and cognitive disturbances. Abnormal cortical oscillatory activity may be a promising biomarker, encouraging non-invasive neurostimulation techniques as a treatment. We aimed to modulate abnormal slow cortical oscillations by delivering transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) and physiotherapy to reduce pain and cognitive symptoms. This was a double-blinded, randomized, crossover trial conducted between February and September 2018 at the Rehabilitation Unit of a teaching Hospital (NCT03221413). Participants were randomly assigned to tACS or random noise stimulation (RNS), 5days/week for 2weeks followed by ad hoc physiotherapy. Clinical and cognitive assessments were performed at T0 (baseline), T1 (after stimulation), T2 (1month after stimulation). Electroencephalogram (EEG) spectral topographies recorded from 15 participants confirmed slow-rhythm prevalence and provided tACS tailored stimulation parameters and electrode sites. Following tACS, EEG alpha1 ([8-10] Hz) activity increased at T1 (p=0.024) compared to RNS, pain symptoms assessed by Visual Analog Scale decreased at T1 (T1 vs T0 p=0.010), self-reported cognitive skills and neuropsychological scores improved both at T1 and T2 (Patient-Reported Outcomes in Cognitive Impairment, T0-T2, p=0.024; Everyday memory questionnaire, T1 compared to RNS, p=0.012; Montreal Cognitive Assessment, T0 vs T1, p=0.048 and T0 vs T2, p=0.009; Trail Making Test B T0-T2, p=0.034). Psychopathological scales and other neuropsychological scores (Trail Making Test-A; Total Phonemic Fluency; Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised; Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure) improved both after tACS and RNS but earlier improvements (T1) were registered only after tACS. These results support tACS coupled with physiotherapy in treating FMS cognitive symptoms, pain and subclinical psychopathology.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3360364
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