Innovative Therapy Combining Neck Muscle Vibration and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Association with Conventional Rehabilitation in Left Unilateral Spatial Neglect Patients: HEMISTIM Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Millot Sarah
  • Beis Jean-Marie
  • Pierret Jonathan
  • Badin Marina
  • Sabau Verginia
  • Bensoussan Laurent
  • Paysant Jean
  • Ceyte Hadrien

  • Spatial perception
  • Neck muscle vibration
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation
  • Occupational therapy sessions


Unilateral spatial neglect (USN) rehabilitation requires the development of new methods that can be easily integrated into conventional practice. The aim of the HEMISTIM protocol is to assess immediate and long-term recovery induced by an innovative association of left-side neckmuscle vibration (NMV) and anodal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on the ipsilesional posterior parietal cortex during occupational therapy sessions in patients with left USN. Participants will be randomly assigned to four groups: control, Left-NMV, Left-NMV + sham-tDCS or Left-NMV + anodal-tDCS. NMV and tDCS will be applied during the first 15 min of occupational therapy sessions, three days a week for three weeks. USN will be assessed at baseline, just at the end of the first experimental session, after the first and third weeks of the protocol and three weeks after its ending. Our primary outcome will be the evolution of the functional Catherine Bergego Scale score. Secondary outcome measures include five tests that investigate different neuropsychological aspects of USN. Left NMV, by activating multisensory integration neuronal networks, might enhance effects obtained by conventional therapy since post-effects were shown when it was combined with upper limb movements. We expect to reinforce lasting intermodal recalibration through LTP-like plasticity induced by anodal tDCS.