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Prefrontal electrical stimulation in nondepressed reduces levels of reported negative affects from daily stressors

Austin, A, Jiga-Boy, GM, Rea, S, Newstead, SA, Roderick, S, Davis, NJ, Clement, RM and Boy, F (2016) Prefrontal electrical stimulation in nondepressed reduces levels of reported negative affects from daily stressors. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. ISSN 1664-1078


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Negative emotional responses to the daily life stresses have cumulative effects which, in turn, impose wide-ranging negative constraints on emotional well being and neurocognitive performance (Kalueff et al, 2007, Charles et al, 2013, Nadler et al, 2010). Crucial cognitive functions such as memory and problem solving, as well more short term emotional responses (e.g., anticipation of- and response to- monetary rewards or losses) are influenced by mood. The negative impact of these behavioural responses is felt at the individual level, but it also imposes major economic burden on modern healthcare systems. Although much research have been undertaken to understand the underlying mechanisms of depressed mood and design efficient treatment pathways, comparatively little was done to characterize mood modulations that remain within the boundaries of a healthy mental functioning. In one placebo-controlled experiments, we applied daily prefrontal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) at five points in time, and found reliable improvements on self-reported mood evaluation. We replicated this finding in an independent double-blinded placebo-controlled experiment and showed that stimulation over a shorter period of time (3 days) is sufficient to create detectable mood improvements. Taken together, our data show that repeated bilateral prefrontal tDCS can reduce psychological distress in nondepressed individuals.

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