Clinical research with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS): Challenges and future directions

Department of Neurosciences and Behavior, Institute of Psychology, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Brain Stimulation (Impact Factor: 5.43). 04/2011; 5(3):175-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2011.03.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a neuromodulatory technique that delivers low-intensity, direct current to cortical areas facilitating or inhibiting spontaneous neuronal activity. In the past 10 years, tDCS physiologic mechanisms of action have been intensively investigated giving support for the investigation of its applications in clinical neuropsychiatry and rehabilitation. However, new methodologic, ethical, and regulatory issues emerge when translating the findings of preclinical and phase I studies into phase II and III clinical studies. The aim of this comprehensive review is to discuss the key challenges of this process and possible methods to address them. METHODS: We convened a workgroup of researchers in the field to review, discuss, and provide updates and key challenges of tDCS use in clinical research. MAIN FINDINGS/DISCUSSION: We reviewed several basic and clinical studies in the field and identified potential limitations, taking into account the particularities of the technique. We review and discuss the findings into four topics: (1) mechanisms of action of tDCS, parameters of use and computer-based human brain modeling investigating electric current fields and magnitude induced by tDCS; (2) methodologic aspects related to the clinical research of tDCS as divided according to study phase (ie, preclinical, phase I, phase II, and phase III studies); (3) ethical and regulatory concerns; and (4) future directions regarding novel approaches, novel devices, and future studies involving tDCS. Finally, we propose some alternative methods to facilitate clinical research on tDCS.

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    ABSTRACT: Auditory hallucinations (AH) are a symptom of several psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. In a significant minority of patients, AH are resistant to antipsychotic medication. Alternative treatment options for this medication resistant group are scarce and most of them focus on coping with the hallucinations. Finding an alternative treatment that can diminish AH is of great importance. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a safe and non-invasive technique that is able to directly influence cortical excitability through the application of very low electric currents. A 1-2 mA direct current is applied between two surface electrodes, one serving as the anode and the other as the cathode. Cortical excitability is increased in the vicinity of the anode and reduced near the cathode. The technique, which has only a few transient side effects and is cheap and portable, is increasingly explored as a treatment for neurological and psychiatric symptoms. It has shown efficacy on symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and stroke. However, the application of tDCS as a treatment for AH is relatively new. This article provides an overview of the current knowledge in this field and guidelines for future research.
    Frontiers in Psychology 01/2015; 6:244. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00244 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interest in non-invasive brain stimulation techniques is increasing in recent years. Among these techniques, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been the subject of great interest among researchers because of its easiness to use, low cost, benign profile of side effects and encouraging results of research in the field. This interest has generated several studies and randomized clinical trials, particularly in psychiatry. In this review, we provide a summary of the development of the technique and its mechanism of action as well as a review of the methodological aspects of randomized clinical trials in psychiatry, including studies in affective disorders, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, child psychiatry and substance use disorder. Finally, we provide an overview of tDCS use in cognitive enhancement as well as a discussion regarding its clinical use and regulatory and ethical issues. Although many promising results regarding tDCS efficacy were described, the total number of studies is still low, highlighting the need of further studies aiming to replicate these findings in larger samples as to provide a definite picture regarding tDCS efficacy in psychiatry.
    03/2015; 5(1):88-102. DOI:10.5498/wjp.v5.i1.88
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    XIV International Scientific – Professional Symposium INFOTEH®-JAHORINA 2015; 03/2015

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