This study states that Primary orthostatic tremor (POT) is a rare disorder, characterized by 13 to 18 Hz tremor in the legs when standing and is often refractory to medical treatment. Epidural spinal cord stimulation has been proposed as an alternative treatment. However, this approach is invasive, which limits its application. Trans-spinal direct current stimulation (tsDCS) is a non-invasive method to modulate spinal cord circuits. The aim of this proof-of-concept study was to investigate the potential beneficial effect of tsDCS in POT.

We conducted a double-blind, sham-controlled study in 16 patients with POT. In two separate visits, patients received sham tsDCS first followed by active (either cathodal or anodal) tsDCS. The primary outcome was the change in time in standing position. Secondary outcomes comprised quantitative assessment of tremor, measurement of corticospinal excitability including short-latency afferent inhibition, and clinical global impression-improvement (CGI-I). Measurements were made at baseline, after sham tsDCS, 0–30 min, and 30–60 min after active conditions.

Cathodal-tsDCS reduced tremor amplitude and frequency and lowered corticospinal excitability whereas anodal-tsDCS reduced tremor frequency only. CGI-I scores positively correlated with the time in standing position after both active tsDCS conditions. A single session of tsDCS can improve instability in POT. This opens a new vista for experimental treatment options using multiple sessions of spinal DC stimulation. International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

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