Transcranial direct-current stimulation

What is transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS)?

tDCS is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation similar to transcranial magnetic stimulation, but instead of using magnets, it uses a low-intensity, constant current applied through scalp electrodes. Generally, anodal stimulation induces an increase of cortical excitability, whereas cathodal stimulation decreases cortical excitability, with effects that last beyond the stimulation period. Dose involves current intensity, duration of stimulation and size of electrodes. The use of tDCS in bipolar disorder is in the early stages of investigation for relief of symptoms in people who are not satisfied with their response to medication.

What is the evidence for tDCS?

Moderate quality evidence suggests no differences between active tDCS for depression and sham in rates of treatment-emergent mania or hypomania.

We found no reviews that assessed symptom improvement.

March 2019

Last updated at: 1:16 am, 1st April 2019
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Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.