Prefronto-cerebellar tDCS enhances neurocognition in euthymic bipolar patients. Findings from a placebo-controlled neuropsychological and psychophysiological investigation.
Bersani FS., Minichino A., Bernabei L., Spagnoli F., Corrado A., Vergnani L., Mannarelli D., Pauletti C., Fattapposta F., Biondi M., Delle Chiaie R.
OBJECTIVES: The present double blind placebo-controlled study aimed at investigating the efficacy of 3-weeks prefronto-cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on neurocognitive functioning in euthymic BD patients. METHODS: Forty-two outpatients with BD were randomly assigned to receive either active (n=21) or sham (n=21) prefronto-cerebellar tDCS for 3 consecutive weeks. Neurocognitive abilities were assessed with both neuropsychological testing and psychophysiological evaluation with a P300 novelty task. RESULTS: Our results showed that (i) Trail Making Test-B, a measure of executive functioning, decreased significantly in the active but not in the sham group, (ii) Rey Complex Figure Test Delay Recall, a measure of visuospatial memory, increased significantly in both groups with a greater increase in the active compared to the sham group, and (iii) P3b latency, a measure of brain information processing stream, decreased significantly in the active but not in the sham group. No significant changes were observed in the other explored neuropsychological and psychophysiological measures. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that concomitant prefrontal-excitatory and cerebellar-inhibitory tDCS in euthymic BD patients may lead to better neurocognitive performance, quantified through neuropsychological and psychophysiological measures.