A randomized, double-blind trial of transcranial electrostimulation in early Parkinson's disease


  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Dr. Holly A. Shill and Sanja Obradov received grant support from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Dr. Yakov Katsnelson and Ray Pizinger are both board members and officers of Kalaco Scientific, Inc., the medical device manufacturer of the Nexalin device and accessories. Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.


We studied the effects of noninvasive transcranial electrical stimulation on the motor and psychological symptoms of early Parkinson's disease. Twenty-three subjects were treated with 10 days of placebo versus active treatment and then followed for 14 weeks. Baseline off medication Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale parts I–III was 29.4 ± 10.0. The primary end point, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale in week 2 following treatment, reduced by 5.3 ± 9.7 for those in active treatment and 7.7 ± 4.8 for those receiving placebo (not significant). Similarly, no significant differences were seen in the Hamilton Anxiety Scale, Geriatric Depression Scale, and Epworth Sleepiness Scale over the duration of the study. The treatment was well tolerated without device-related adverse events. Despite the negative study, nonpharmacological approaches should continue to be pursued in Parkinson's disease, as they are generally well received by patients. © 2011 Movement Disorder Society