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A Study of Null Effects for the Use of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in Adults With and Without Reading Impairment

Cummine, J; Villarena, M; Onysyk, T; Devlin, JT; (2020) A Study of Null Effects for the Use of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in Adults With and Without Reading Impairment. Neurobiology of Language , 1 (4) pp. 434-451. 10.1162/nol_a_00020. Green open access

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Abstract

There is evidence to support the hypothesis that the delivery of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to the left temporoparietal junction can enhance performance on reading speed and reading accuracy (Costanzo et al., 2016b; Heth & Lavidor, 2015). Here, we explored whether we could demonstrate similar effects in adults with and without reading impairments. Method: Adults with (N = 33) and without (N = 29) reading impairment were randomly assigned to anodal or sham stimulation conditions. All individuals underwent a battery of reading assessments pre and post stimulation. The stimulation session involved 15 min of anodal/sham stimulation over the left temporoparietal junction while concurrently completing a computerized nonword segmentation task known to activate the temporoparietal junction. Results: There were no conclusive findings that anodal stimulation impacted reading performance for skilled or impaired readers. Conclusions: While tDCS may provide useful gains on reading performance in the paediatric population, much more work is needed to establish the parameters under which such findings would transfer to adult populations. The documentation, reporting, and interpreting of null effects of tDCS are immensely important to a field that is growing exponentially with much uncertainty.

Type: Article
Title: A Study of Null Effects for the Use of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in Adults With and Without Reading Impairment
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1162/nol_a_00020
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1162/nol_a_00020
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.
Keywords: brain modulation, reading, dyslexia, tDCS
UCL classification: UCL
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 > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10142197
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