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Single-Session Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Temporarily Improves Symptoms, Mood, and Self-Regulatory Control in Bulimia Nervosa: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Kekic, M; McClelland, J; Bartholdy, S; Boysen, E; Musiat, P; Dalton, B; Tiza, M; ... Schmidt, U; + view all (2017) Single-Session Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Temporarily Improves Symptoms, Mood, and Self-Regulatory Control in Bulimia Nervosa: A Randomised Controlled Trial. PLoS One , 12 (1) , Article e0167606. 10.1371/journal.pone.0167606. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that pathological eating behaviours in bulimia nervosa (BN) are underpinned by alterations in reward processing and self-regulatory control, and by functional changes in neurocircuitry encompassing the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Manipulation of this region with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may therefore alleviate symptoms of the disorder. OBJECTIVE: This double-blind sham-controlled proof-of-principle trial investigated the effects of bilateral tDCS over the DLPFC in adults with BN. METHODS: Thirty-nine participants (two males) received three sessions of tDCS in a randomised and counterbalanced order: anode right/cathode left (AR/CL), anode left/cathode right (AL/CR), and sham. A battery of psychological/neurocognitive measures was completed before and after each session and the frequency of bulimic behaviours during the following 24-hours was recorded. RESULTS: AR/CL tDCS reduced eating disorder cognitions (indexed by the Mizes Eating Disorder Cognitions Questionnaire-Revised) when compared to AL/CR and sham tDCS. Both active conditions suppressed the self-reported urge to binge-eat and increased self-regulatory control during a temporal discounting task. Compared to sham stimulation, mood (assessed with the Profile of Mood States) improved after AR/CL but not AL/CR tDCS. Lastly, the three tDCS sessions had comparable effects on the wanting/liking of food and on bulimic behaviours during the 24 hours post-stimulation. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that single-session tDCS transiently improves symptoms of BN. They also help to elucidate possible mechanisms of action and highlight the importance of selecting the optimal electrode montage. Multi-session trials are needed to determine whether tDCS has potential for development as a treatment for adult BN.

Type: Article
Title: Single-Session Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Temporarily Improves Symptoms, Mood, and Self-Regulatory Control in Bulimia Nervosa: A Randomised Controlled Trial
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167606
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167606
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 Kekic et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10063531
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