Evidence for modulation of planning and working memory capacities by transcranial direct current stimulation in a sample of adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Barham H., Buyukgok D., Aksu S., Soyata A. Z., Bulut G., Eskicioglu G., ...More

NEUROSCIENCE LETTERS, vol.790, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 790
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.neulet.2022.136883
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Animal Behavior Abstracts, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Brain stimulation, Cognitive functions, Neuropsychological evaluation, Transcranial direct current stimulation, DORSOLATERAL PREFRONTAL CORTEX, DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER, COGNITIVE CONTROL, SOCIAL COGNITION, EYES TEST, ADHD, SCHIZOPHRENIA, INTERVENTION, INTERFERENCE, METAANALYSIS
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Background and Objective: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that affects up to 2.8% of the adult population. Albeit pharmacological and behavioral therapies alleviate some core symptoms of ADHD, they do not avail cognitive dysfunction adequately. Executive dysfunction has been considered to have a principal role in ADHD and has previously been linked to activity alterations in the prefrontal cortex. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a noninvasive brain stimulation technique that may modulate prefrontal cortex activity and induce neuroplasticity, with preliminary results in ADHD. The aim of the present study is to assess the effect of repeated tDCS on measures of executive functions in adults with ADHD. Method: In this randomized double-blind sham-controlled study, 22 adults with ADHD were allocated into two groups and were administered five consecutive sessions of 2 mA active/sham tDCS over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (right anodal/left cathodal). A neuropsychological test battery was administered before the first session and immediately after the last session. Results: The maximum number of digits and the total number of correct trials in the Digit Span Backward test increased in the active group (p = 0.017). The total move score in the Tower of London test decreased (p = 0.033), suggesting better planning ability. However, no significant differences were observed on Stroop Test and Trail Making Test after tDCS. Discussion: The present study corroborates the modulating effects of tDCS on planning and working memory in a small group of adults with ADHD. Our results highlighted that cognitive functions are modulable using tDCS in adults with ADHD.