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Open Studies

The Spaulding Neuromodulation Center focuses on non-invasive brain stimulation to aid  in the development of practical clinical treatments for those with neurological disorders like stroke or chronic pain such as low back pain, osteoarthritis, phantom limb pain, among others.

We are currently and periodically recruiting volunteers to participate in different projects using non-invasive brain stimulation for a wide variety of pathologies and conditions, focusing on rehabilitation and chronic pain.

The main non-invasive brain stimulation techniques used at the center are:

    • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) uses a weak and non-painful electrical current delivered through two electrodes placed over the scalp. This technique can increase or decrease brain activity in certain regions.
    • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) uses magnetic fields applied close to the scalp through a plastic coil. It is a safe and painless technique that can stimulate but also can assess some parts of the brain.

Optimised transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for fibromyalgia—targeting the endogenous pain control system

This trial aims at understanding the mechanisms of optimized transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) (16 tDCS sessions combined with exercise)] on pain control. Optimized tDCS can lead to stronger engagement of the endogenous pain regulatory system that will ultimately lead to increased pain relief in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). Therefore, the investigators designed a 2x2 factorial mechanistic trial [tDCS (active and sham) and aerobic exercise (AE) (active and control)] to evaluate the effects of 4 weeks of tDCS coupled with exercise on the endogenous pain regulatory system assessed by conditioned pain modulation (CPM) and central sensitization as assessed by temporal slow pain summation (TSPS), and compared to either intervention alone and to no intervention.

Principal Investigator: Felipe Fregni, MD PhD MPH

Study Contact: Meghan Whalen, Research Assistant II (mwhalen7@partners.org)

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03371225

 

Optimizing Rehabilitation for Phantom Limb Pain Using Mirror Therapy and transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)

Chronic phantom limb pain (PLP) is recognized as very difficult to treat as it is often resistant to classical pharmacological and surgical treatment approaches. It is a major cause of disability and a main contributor to the quality of life. Extensive evidence indicates that PLP is a phenomenon related to significant maladaptive brain changes. In this study we propose to investigate a novel rehabilitation approach combining a behavioral therapy- mirror therapy- with a method of brain modulation (tDCS) to treat and investigate the mechanisms of PLP.

Principal Investigator: Felipe Fregni, MD PhD MPH

Study Contact: Meghan Whalen, Research Assistant II (mwhalen7@partners.org)

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02487966

 

Following the NIH policy for data sharing, the anonymized raw functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data of this study is available for external researchers after formal request to the PI (Fregni.felipe@mgh.harvard.edu).

Remotely supervised and home-based transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) combined with motor imagery for phantom limb pain: A machine learning study.

Phantom limb pain (PLP) is a frequent and refractory complication in amputees, which affects severely their quality of life. It consists in pain that feels like it is coming from a body part that is no longer there. Currently, there is not effective treatment to managing this condition. At the Spaulding Neuromodulation Center, we are evaluating the effects of home-based non-invasive brain stimulation (transcranial direct current stimulation) combined with sensorimotor training to reduces PLP. Since it has been reported that the analgesic response varies significantly between participants (depending on sensory, mood, and cognitive characteristics), thus, we are using artificial intelligence methods to find predictors of treatment response. These findings will help us to classify responders and non-responders to the treatment and further develop individualized pain management protocols. 

Principal Investigator: Felipe Fregni, MD PhD MPH

Study Contact: Kevin Pacheco-Barrios (kpachecobarrios@mgh.harvard.edu) 

 

For more information about ongoing studies, you can click here.