Targeting cognition in schizophrenia through transcranial direct current stimulation: a systematic review and perspective

Kostova, R. , Cecere, R., Thut, G. and Uhlhaas, P. J. (2020) Targeting cognition in schizophrenia through transcranial direct current stimulation: a systematic review and perspective. Schizophrenia Research, 220, pp. 300-310. (doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2020.03.002) (PMID:32204971)

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Cognitive deficits are a fundamental feature of schizophrenia for which currently no effective treatments exist. This paper examines the possibility to use transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to target cognitive deficits in schizophrenia as evidence from studies in healthy participants suggests that tDCS may improve cognitive functions and associated neural processes. We carried out a systematic review with the following search terms: ‘tDCS’, ‘electric brain stimulation’, ‘schizophrenia’, ‘cognitive’, ‘cognition’ until March 2019. 659 records were identified initially, 612 of which were excluded after abstract screening. The remaining 47 articles were assessed for eligibility based on our criteria and 26 studies were excluded. In addition, we compared several variables, such as online vs. offline-stimulation protocols, stimulation type and intensity on mediating positive vs. negative study outcomes. The majority of studies (n = 21) identified significant behavioural and neural effects on a range of cognitive functions (versus n = 11 with null results), including working memory, attention and social cognition. However, we could not identify tDCS parameters (electrode montage, stimulation protocol, type and intensity) that clearly mediated effects on cognitive deficits. There is preliminary evidence for the possibility that tDCS may improve cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. We discuss the rationale and strength of evidence for using tDCS for targeting cognitive deficits in schizophrenia as well as methodological issues and potential mechanisms of action.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Uhlhaas, Professor Peter and Kostova, Ralitsa and Thut, Professor Gregor and Cecere, Dr Roberto
Authors: Kostova, R., Cecere, R., Thut, G., and Uhlhaas, P. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Schizophrenia Research
ISSN (Online):1573-2509
Published Online:21 March 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V.
First Published:First published in Schizophrenia Research 220: 300-310
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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