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Non-invasive direct current brain stimulation: the evidence behind the hype

Nord, CL; Roiser, JP; (2015) Non-invasive direct current brain stimulation: the evidence behind the hype. Advances in Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation , 15 (5) pp. 9-11. Green open access

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Abstract

The leading global cause of disability is major depression, affecting over 350 million people worldwide. Pharmacological and psychological therapies for depression have changed very little in the past thirty years, despite extensive research for new treatment targets. The most common antidepressant drugs are effective for about 58% of depressed patients in primary care, while 45% respond to placebo. The difficulty in developing new treatments arises in part because depression is a disorder of unknown aetiology. The neurobiological correlates of depression, on the other hand, are not entirely unknown: neuroscience research has identified several brain circuits that operate abnormally in depression. Recently, this knowledge has contributed to the development of experimental treatments, including those that stimulate the brain directly in a targeted manner. Among these novel treatments is a form of painless, noninvasive brain stimulation termed transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), commonly applied to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in trials for depression. The practical advantages of tDCS are many: tDCS is comparatively inexpensive, portable, and safe. In this article we discuss the evidence that tDCS is effective in depression, and the neural and cognitive mechanisms that may drive its putative antidepressant effect. We also outline the importance of mechanistic studies of DLPFC tDCS to clarify its effects on the brain, and optimize its potential for clinical use.

Type: Article
Title: Non-invasive direct current brain stimulation: the evidence behind the hype
Location: United Kingdom
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.acnr.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/P...
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright ACNR. Permission to make available kindly granted by the publisher. The final version of this article can be found at the following address: http://www.acnr.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Page-91.pdf
Keywords: transcranial direct current stimulation, depression, brain stimulation, mental health, neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry
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 > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472610
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