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Transcranial DC Stimulation: Ready for Regular Use in Treating Major Depression?

Studies of transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS), which is one of several emerging biological nonpharmacologic interventions proposed to treat depression, have had mixed results. Now a team of investigators[1] from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, have undertaken a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual patient data to assess tDCS efficacy and explore individual response predictors.

Zapping the brain really does seem to improve depression

Now we know – zapping the brain with electricity really does seem to improve some medical conditions, meaning it may be a useful tool for treating depression. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) involves using electrodes to send a weak current across the brain. Stimulating brain tissue like this has been linked to effects ranging from accelerated learning to improving the symptoms of depression and faster recovery from strokes.

The impact of cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)

The cerebellum has been shown to be important for skill learning, including the learning of motor sequences. We investigated whether cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) would enhance learning of fine motor sequences. Because the ability to generalize or transfer to novel task variations or circumstances is a crucial goal of real world training, we also examined the effect of tDCS on performance of novel sequences after training.

Transcranial direct current stimulation shows promise for depression therapy

Small amounts of electricity similar to the output of a common 9-volt battery could improve life for people living with major depression, the most common mood disorder. A new study at the University of Kansas will investigate the potential of transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS, whereby a safe, low current of electricity is applied to the brain by placing electrodes on a person's scalp. The painless technique may be a useful as a therapy for depression, especially in conjunction with antidepressant medications.