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1.  Neurostimulation for cognitive rehabilitation in stroke (NeuroCog): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2015;16:435.
Stroke patients may present severe cognitive impairments, primarily related to executive functions. Transcranial direct current stimulation has shown promising results, with neuromodulatory and neuroplastic effects. This study is a double-blind, sham-controlled clinical trial aiming to compare the long-term effects of stimulation in two different cognitive regions after a stroke.
Sixty patients who suffer from chronic strokes will be randomized into one of four groups: dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, cingulo-opercular network, motor primary cortex and sham stimulation. Each group will receive transcranial direct current stimulation at an intensity of 2 mA for 20 minutes daily for 10 consecutive days. Patients will be assessed with a Dysexecutive Questionnaire, Semantic Fluency Test, categorical verbal fluency and Go-no go tests, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Rey Auditory-Verbal Learning Test, Letter Comparison and Pattern Comparison Tasks at baseline and after their tenth stimulation session. Those who achieve clinical improvement with neurostimulation will be invited to receive treatment for 12 months as part of a follow-up study.
Long-term stimulation could be analyzed in regard to possible adaptive changes on plasticity after structural brain damage and if these changes are different in terms of clinical improvement when applied to two important cognitive centers.
Trials registration, NCT02315807. 9 December 2014.
PMCID: PMC4589066  PMID: 26420269
Transcranial direct current stimulation; Cognitive rehabilitation; Clinical trial
2.  Visual contrast sensitivity in patients with impairment of functional independence after stroke 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:90.
Stroke has been considered a serious public health problem in many countries, accounting for complex disorders involving perception, such as visual, cognitive and functional deficits. The impact of stroke on the visual perception of individuals with impairments in functional independence was investigated.
We measured changes in functional independence and visual function in 40 patients with stroke (M = 52.3, SD = 0.65) and 10 controls (M = 52.5, SD = 0.66). The patients were divided into four subgroups following the Barthel Index (Group A: 20–35, serious dependence; Group B: 40–55, moderate dependence; Group C: 60–95, mild dependence; and Group D: 100 points, independence). Visual function was evaluated using the Contrast Sensitivity Function (CSF). The contrast threshold was measured using a temporal, two-alternative, forced-choice psychophysical method.
The results show significant differences in CSF between healthy volunteers and patients with stroke (F (1.56) = 151.2, p < 0.001) for all frequencies (F (2.56) = 125.96, p < 0.001). The results also show that patients with low functional independence had lower contrast sensitivity than those with greater functional independence (F (3.56) = 344.82, p < 0.001).
An association exists between CSF and a worsening in the functional potential for performing daily living activities. Our results suggest that the CSF can be used as a diagnostic tool to analyze visual function associated with deficits in functional independence after stroke. These findings should be considered across the continuum of care for these patients.
PMCID: PMC3477036  PMID: 22970902
Contrast sensitivity; Stroke; Functional independence; Spatial frequency

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