Is transcranial current stimulation (tCS, including direct current, tDCS, alternating current, tACS, or random noise stimulation tRNS) effective for the treatment of depression?
Under what conditions? With what montages? We focus here on a review of the recent literature on this topic. We have relied on Google Scholar and also PubMed to carry out the search, including the terms of tDCS, tACS, tRNS as well as Depression (from March 2012 and till Sep 2013).
As you can read below, there quite a few encouraging results in this area, and study group sizes (the famous N) are moderately large. We try to indicate group size and the use of a sham-controlled, double-blind experimental technique. Most studies are careful about these crucial aspects. In addition, it is worth mentioning that there continues to be a lack of bad news from the safety point of view. This seems to be a common pattern of tDCS research (or tCS, in fact). I will discuss this further in a future post on an update on tCS Safety.
The typical target for treatment is anodal on the left DLPFC (F3 in the 10-20 EEG system) with the cathode over the contralateral orbit or, sometimes, over the right DLPFC. As in prior posts, in what follows we concentrate on relevant, study-oriented papers with patients, and leave reviews to the end. In order to make the reading lighter, we have edited the abstracts a bit (please click on the title link if you are interested in the paper)… Full Text PDF