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Transcranial direct current stimulation for depression: 3-week, randomised, sham-controlled trial

  • Colleen K. Loo (a1), Angelo Alonzo (a2), Donel Martin (a2), Philip B. Mitchell (a2), Veronica Galvez (a3) and Perminder Sachdev (a4)...
Abstract
Background

Preliminary evidence suggests transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has antidepressant efficacy.

Aims

To further investigate the efficacy of tDCS in a double-blind, sham-controlled trial (registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00763230).

Method

Sixty-four participants with current depression received active or sham anodal tDCS to the left prefrontal cortex (2 mA, 15 sessions over 3 weeks), followed by a 3-week open-label active treatment phase. Mood and neuropsychological effects were assessed.

Results

There was significantly greater improvement in mood after active than after sham treatment (P<0.05), although no difference in responder rates (13% in both groups). Attention and working memory improved after a single session of active but not sham tDCS (P<0.05). There was no decline in neuropsychological functioning after 3–6 weeks of active stimulation. One participant with bipolar disorder became hypomanic after active tDCS.

Conclusions

Findings confirm earlier reports of the antidepressant efficacy and safety of tDCS. Vigilance for mood switching is advised when administering tDCS to individuals with bipolar disorder.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Colleen Loo, Level 2, James Laws House, St George Hospital, Kogarah, NSW 2217, Australia. Email: colleen.loo@unsw.edu.au
Footnotes
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See pp. 10–11, this issue.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Transcranial direct current stimulation for depression: 3-week, randomised, sham-controlled trial

  • Colleen K. Loo (a1), Angelo Alonzo (a2), Donel Martin (a2), Philip B. Mitchell (a2), Veronica Galvez (a3) and Perminder Sachdev (a4)...
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