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Does transcranial direct current stimulation to prefrontal cortex affect mood and emotional memory retrieval in healthy individuals?

Morgan, HM and Davis, NJ and Bracewell, RM (2014) Does transcranial direct current stimulation to prefrontal cortex affect mood and emotional memory retrieval in healthy individuals? PLoS ONE, 9 (3). ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Studies using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of prefrontal cortex to improve symptoms of depression have had mixed results. We examined whether using tDCS to change the balance of activity between left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) can alter mood and memory retrieval of emotional material in healthy volunteers. Participants memorised emotional images, then tDCS was applied bilaterally to DLPFC while they performed a stimulus-response compatibility task. Participants were then presented with a set of images for memory retrieval. Questionnaires to examine mood and motivational state were administered at the beginning and end of each session. Exploratory data analyses showed that the polarity of tDCS to DLPFC influenced performance on a stimulus-response compatibility task and this effect was dependent on participants' prior motivational state. However, tDCS polarity had no effect on the speed or accuracy of memory retrieval of emotional images and did not influence positive or negative affect. These findings suggest that the balance of activity between left and right DLPFC does not play a critical role in the mood state of healthy individuals. We suggest that the efficacy of prefrontal tDCS depends on the initial activation state of neurons and future work should take this into account. © 2014 Morgan et al.

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