What really affects tDCS treatment?

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A recent publication from Dr. Lucia Li at the Imperial College London seems to suggest a correlation between a tDCS user’s white matter connectivity and the effectiveness of their tDCS treatment.

The study was centered around exploring the Salience Network—which consist of areas of the brain responsible for cognitive control. In particular, the group hypothesized that tDCS could be used as treatment for a structurally damaged Salience Network, with the idea being tDCS could potentially be used to modulate and ultimately boost activity within the Salience Network in order for the user to improve on their cognitive control.

Subjects had tDCS applied to their right inferior frontal gyrus/anterior insula cortex. While tDCS was being administered, subjects were also given a Stop Signal Task and an fMRI at the same time to evaluate their level of cognitive control and performance.

Subjects overall exhibited improved cognitive control during anodal tDCS. Interestingly, it was also discovered that participants with a high fractional anisotropy—a measure of white matter connectivity in the brain—responded much more positively to anodal tDCS treatment than those with a low fractional anisotropy. The study highlights that this discovery may provide key insight into interpretations on the outcomes of future tDCS studies.

For more information, a link to the publication is provided here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811918320500?via%3Dihub