Enhancing decision-making and cognitive impulse control with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied over the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC): A randomized and sham-controlled exploratory study.

TitleEnhancing decision-making and cognitive impulse control with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied over the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC): A randomized and sham-controlled exploratory study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsOuellet J, McGirr A, Van den Eynde F, Jollant F, Lepage M, Berlim M
JournalJ Psychiatr Res
Volume69
Pagination27-34
Date Published2015 Oct
ISSN1879-1379
KeywordsAdult, Attention, Cognition, Decision Making, Executive Function, Female, Functional Laterality, Gambling, Humans, Inhibition (Psychology), Male, Neuropsychological Tests, Prefrontal Cortex, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Psychomotor Performance, Single-Blind Method, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, Young Adult
Abstract

BACKGROUND: Decision-making and impulse control (both cognitive and motor) are complex interrelated processes which rely on a distributed neural network that includes multiple cortical and subcortical regions. Among them, the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) seems to be particularly relevant as demonstrated by several neuropsychological and neuroimaging investigations.METHODS: In the present study we assessed whether transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied bilaterally over the OFC is able to modulate decision-making and cognitive impulse control. More specifically, 45 healthy subjects were randomized to receive a single 30-min session of active or sham anodal tDCS (1.5 mA) applied over either the left or the right OFC (coupled with contralateral cathodal tDCS). They were also assessed pre- and post-tDCS with a battery of computerized tasks.RESULTS: Our results show that participants who received active anodal tDCS (irrespective of laterality), vs. those who received sham tDCS, displayed more advantageous decision-making (i.e., increased Iowa Gambling Task "net scores" [p = 0.04]), as well as improved cognitive impulse control (i.e., decreased "interference" in the Stroop Word-Colour Task [p = 0.007]). However, we did not observe tDCS-related effects on mood (assessed by visual analogue scales), attentional levels (assessed by the Continuous Performance Task) or motor impulse control (assessed by the Stop-Signal Task).CONCLUSIONS: Our study potentially serves as a key translational step towards the development of novel non-invasive neuromodulation-based therapeutic interventions directly targeting vulnerability factors for psychiatric conditions such as suicidal behaviour and addiction.

DOI10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.07.018
Alternate JournalJ Psychiatr Res
PubMed ID26343591

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