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Autism & tDCS

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by varied deficits in social communication, motor function, cognition, and age appropriate behavior. Study results from use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) indicate support for improved cognitive and social communication skills in children and adults with ASD. Due to tDCS abilities to target specific underlying neuronal imbalances, treatment over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) improves behavior, sociality, transitions, and working memory. Even in the very reactive and sensory heightened population tDCS provides a tolerable, safe, and relevant new brain therapy, while at the same time showing benefit in other neuropsychiatric conditions like depression, anxiety, concussive injury, and even in dementia. tDCS sessions last 20 minutes are easily implemented in a flexible at home therapy that is very safe and convenient.

Improve Overall Function

  • Improves mood and transitions
  • Improves working memory
  • Improves socialization
  • Safe with no adverse effects
  • Enhances response to other therapies like NFB and HBOT

REFERENCE

  1. Mohammad Ali Salehinejad et al; A systematic review of randomized controlled trials on efficacy and safety of transcranial direct current stimulation in major neurodevelopmental disorders: ADHD, autism, and dyslexia. Brain Behav. 2022 Sep;12(9):e2724. doi: 10.1002/brb3.2724. Epub 2022 Aug 8. PMID: 35938945. PMCID: PMC9480913
  2. Giordano D’Urso et al; Cerebellar Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study on Efficacy, Feasibility, Safety, and Unexpected Outcomes in Tic Disorder and Epilepsy. J Clin Med. 2022 Jan; 11(1): 143. Doi: 10.3390/jcm11010143. PMID: 35011884. PMCID: PMC8745597
  3. Jiujun Qiu et al; Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) over the Left Dorsal Lateral Prefrontal Cortex in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Neural Plast. 2021; 2021: 6627507. Published online 2021 Jun 19. doi: 10.1155/2021/6627507. PMID: 34257640. PMCID: PMC8245257
  4. Christina Luckhardt, Sara Boxhoorn, Magdalena Schütz, Nikola Fann, Christine M Freitag. Brain stimulation by tDCS as treatment option in Autism Spectrum Disorder-A systematic literature review. Prog Brain Res. 2021:264:233-257. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2021.03.002. Epub 2021 Apr 16. PMID: 34167658
  5. Sara García-González et al; Transcranial direct current stimulation in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2021 Jul:48:89-109. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2021.02.017. Epub 2021 Mar 24. PMID: 33773886
  6. Ali Khaleghi et al; Effects of Non-invasive Neurostimulation on Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review. Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci. 2020 Nov 30; 18(4): 527–552. Published online 2020 Nov 30. doi: 10.9758/cpn.2020.18.4.52. PMID: 33124586. PMCID: PMC7609207
  7. Joan Esse Wilson et al; Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to the Right Temporoparietal Junction for Social Functioning in Autism Spectrum Disorder. J ECT. 2018 Mar; 34(1): e10–e13. doi: 10.1097/YCT.0000000000000445. PMID: 28825927. PMCID: PMC6495599

Study: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials on efficacy and safety of transcranial direct current stimulation in major neurodevelopmental disorders: ADHD, autism, and dyslexia

Objective: Among the target groups in child and adolescent psychiatry, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been more applied in neurodevelopmental disorders specifically, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and dyslexia. This systematic review aims to provide the latest update on published randomized-controlled trials applying tDCS in these disorders for evaluating its efficacy and safety.

Methods: Based on a pre-registered protocol (PROSPERO: CRD42022321430) and using the PRISMA approach, a literature search identified 35 randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of tDCS on children and adolescents with ADHD (n = 17), ASD (n = 11), and dyslexia (n = 7).

Results: In ADHD, prefrontal anodal tDCS is reported more effective compared to stimulation of the right inferior frontal gyrus. Similarly in ASD, prefrontal anodal tDCS was found effective for improving behavioral problems. In dyslexia, stimulating temporoparietal regions was the most common and effective protocol. In ASD and dyslexia, all tDCS studies found an improvement in at least one of the outcome variables while 64.7% of studies (11 of 17) in ADHD found a similar effect. About 88% of all tDCS studies with a multi-session design in 3 disorders (16 of 18) reported a significant improvement in one or all outcome variables after the intervention. Randomized, double-blind, controlled trials consisted of around 70.5%, 36.3%, and 57.1% of tDCS studies in ADHD, ASD, and dyslexia, respectively. tDCS was found safe with no reported serious side effects in 6587 sessions conducted on 745 children and adolescents across 35 studies.

Conclusion: tDCS was found safe and partially effective. For evaluation of clinical utility, larger randomized controlled trials with a double-blind design and follow-up measurements are required. Titration studies that systematically evaluate different stimulation intensities, duration, and electrode placement are lacking.

REFERENCE

  1. Mohammad Ali Salehinejad et al; A systematic review of randomized controlled trials on efficacy and safety of transcranial direct current stimulation in major neurodevelopmental disorders: ADHD, autism, and dyslexia. Brain Behav. 2022 Sep;12(9):e2724. doi: 10.1002/brb3.2724. Epub 2022 Aug 8. PMID: 35938945. PMCID: PMC9480913

These statements have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. All of the statements made on this document are not anecdotal and have been taken directly from clinical data.