Modulation of Repeated Anodal HD-tDCS on Attention in Healthy Young Adults

High-definition transcranial direct current stimulation (HD-tDCS) is a valid brain stimulation technology to optimize cognitive function. Recent evidence indicates that single anodal tDCS session enhances attention; however, the variation in attention produced by repeated anodal HD-tDCS over a longer period of time has not been explored. We examined the modulation of attention function in healthy young participants (39 young adults) who received repeated HD-tDCS sustained for 4 weeks. The results showed a robust benefit of anodal HD-tDCS on executive control and psychomotor efficiency, but not on orienting, alerting, or selective attention (inhibition); the benefit increased successively over 4 weeks; and the enhancement on executive control of each week was significant compared to baseline in the anodal group. In addition, the subjects’ performances on the test of executive control and psychomotor efficiency gradually restored to the initial level in the sham group, which appeared obviously from week 3 (after 9 interventions), but the improvement of attention in the anodal group was persistent. We conclude that repeated anodal HD-tDCS provides a positive benefit on executive control and psychomotor efficiency and has obvious accumulative effect after 9 or more times intervention compared to sham HD-tDCS. Additionally, our findings might provide pivotal guidance for the formulation of a strategy for the use of repeated anodal HD-tDCS to modulate on attention function.

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