New Approaches Based on Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation and Mental Representation Techniques Targeting Pain in Parkinson’s Disease Patients: Two Study Protocols for Two Randomized Controlled Trials.

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Brain Sciences
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Pain is an under-reported but prevalent symptom in Parkinson’s Disease (PD), impacting patients’ quality of life. Both pain and PD conditions cause cortical excitability reduction and non-invasive brain stimulation. Mental representation techniques are thought to be able to counteract it, also resulting effectively in chronic pain conditions. We aim to conduct two independent studies in order to evaluate the efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and mental representation protocol in the management of pain in PD patients during the ON state: (1) tDCS over the Primary Motor Cortex (M1); and (2) Action Observation (AO) and Motor Imagery (MI) training through a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) using Virtual Reality (AO + MI-BCI). Both studies will include 32 subjects in a longitudinal prospective parallel randomized controlled trial design under different blinding conditions. The main outcomes will be score changes in King’s Parkinson’s Disease Pain Scale, Brief Pain Inventory, Temporal Summation, Conditioned Pain Modulation, and Pain Pressure Threshold. Assessment will be performed pre-intervention, post-intervention, and 15 days post-intervention, in both ON and OFF states.

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Parkinson’s Disease, Transcranial direct current stimulation, Action observation, Motor imagery, Pain