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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. While most people with schizophrenia respond adequately to antipsychotic medication, some find it is not completely effective for all of their symptoms. tDCS is currently being investigated as an additional treatment for these people.

What is the evidence for tDCS?

Moderate to low quality evidence finds a medium-sized effect of greater improvement in negative symptoms with active tDCS compared to non-active tDCS, with no effect on positive symptoms (including auditory hallucinations).

August 2019

Last updated at: 2:17 am, 29th August 2019
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Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.