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

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  • 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
Vis graf over relationer

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

ID: 56850398