Blinding is compromised for transcranial direct current stimulation at 1 mA for 20 minutes in young healthy adults

Zsolt Turi, Gábor Csifcsák, Nya Mehnwolo Boayue, Per Aslaksen, Andrea Antal, Walter Paulus, Josephine Groot, Guy E Hawkins, Birte Forstmann, Alexander Opitz, Axel Thielscher, Matthias Mittner

63 Citationer (Scopus)

Abstract

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation method that is frequently used to study cortical excitability changes and their impact on cognitive functions in humans. While most stimulators are capable of operating in double-blind mode, the amount of discomfort experienced during tDCS may break blinding. Therefore, specifically designed sham stimulation protocols are being used. The “fade-in, short-stimulation, fade-out” (FSF) protocol has been used in hundreds of studies and is commonly believed to be indistinguishable from real stimulation applied at 1 mA for 20 min. We analysed subjective reports of 192 volunteers, who either received real tDCS (n = 96) or FSF tDCS (n = 96). Participants reported more discomfort for real tDCS and correctly guessed the condition above chance-level. These findings indicate that FSF does not ensure complete blinding and that better active sham protocols are needed.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Vol/bind50
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)3261-3268
Antal sider8
ISSN0953-816X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2019

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