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Review Article | Open Access

The cognitive function effects of prefrontal tDCS for depression: a system review

Xiaoli Liu1,2,§Chang Yu2,§Hai-Hang Yu1,2Zan Chen1Dongsheng Zhou1,2( )
Sleep Clinic Center, Ningbo Kangning Hospital, Ningbo 315201, China
Ningbo Key laboratory of Sleep Medicine, Ningbo Kangning Hospital, Ningbo 315201, China

§ Xiaoli Liu and Chang Yu Contributed equally to this work.

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Graphical Abstract

Abstract

Background:

Depression is accompanied by cognitive control defects. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been found to be a promising non-invasive treatment for depression. Studies have explored whether tDCS can improve cognitive function in patients with depression, but the results were not consistent.

Methods:

The study summarized the relevant evidence from sham-controlled randomized controlled trials (RCTs) whether prefrontal tDCS improves cognitive function in patients with depression.

Results:

Seventeen sham-controlled studies were selected from 252 papers. Systematic analysis shows that the prefrontal tDCS has a promising prospect in the working memory and emotion process of depression patients; however, there is insufficient evidence to support the reliable influence of tDCS on psychomotor speed, learning, speech process, and overall cognitive function.

Conclusions:

Our review shows that the prefrontal tDCS has positive effects on working memory and emotion processes, but has limited impact on other cognitive functions.

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Stress and Brain
Pages 97-107
Cite this article:
Liu X, Yu C, Yu H-H, et al. The cognitive function effects of prefrontal tDCS for depression: a system review. Stress and Brain, 2021, 1(2): 97-107. https://doi.org/10.26599/SAB.2020.9060006

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Received: 27 March 2020
Revised: 01 July 2020
Accepted: 25 August 2021
Published: 17 December 2021
© The Author(s) 2021

Creative Commons Non Commercial CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission.

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