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The effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on Idiopathic Hypersomnia: a pilot study.

Andrea Galbiati, Jubin Abutalebi, Sandro Iannaccone, Virginia Maria Borsa, Stela Musteata, Marco Zucconi, Enrico Giora, Luigi Ferini-Strambi


Idiopathic Hypersomnia (IH) is a rare sleep disorder characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) that leads to invalidating daytime consequences. Till now the treatment of IH has mirrored that of sleepiness in narcolepsy, and it is mainly focused on symptoms’ management. We employed an anodal transcranic Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) treatment in order to induce a shift toward arousal in IH patients’ cortex during the day. Every patients underwent a 4 weeks treatment (3 stimulations per week, for a total of 12 stimulations over a period of 28 days) with an assessment at the baseline and after treatment aimed to the evaluation of subjective daytime sleepiness, neurocognitive functions, and attentional domain tested by means of the Attentional Network Task (ANT). The dependent variables of the ANT are accuracy and reaction times, which represent the objective outcome of our study. A significant effect of tDCS’ treatment in reducing EDS was found. Besides the amelioration in subjective EDS,  an objective improvement in RTs in all conditions of the ANT, in particular in the more difficult component, was observed. Our results indicate that tDCS may foster the management of EDS in IH, improving also the attentional domain.


tDCS; Idiopathic Hypersomnia; Sleepiness; Attentional domain; Reaction times

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