Due to its safety, portability, and cheapness, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) use largely increased in research and clinical settings. Despite tDCS’s wide application, previous works pointed out inconsistent and low replicable results, sometimes leading to extreme conclusions about tDCS’s ineffectiveness in modulating behavioral performance across cognitive domains. Traditionally, this variability has been linked to significant differences in the stimulation protocols across studies, including stimulation parameters, target regions, and electrodes montage. Here, we reviewed and discussed evidence of heterogeneity emerging at the intra-study level, namely inter-individual differences that may influence the response to tDCS within each study. This source of variability has been largely neglected by literature, being results mainly analyzed at the group level. Previous research, however, highlighted that only a half—or less—of studies’ participants could be classified as responders, being affected by tDCS in the expected direction. Stable and variable inter-individual differences, such as morphological and genetic features vs. hormonal/exogenous substance consumption, partially account for this heterogeneity. Moreover, variability comes from experiments’ contextual elements, such as participants’ engagement/baseline capacity and individual task difficulty. We concluded that increasing knowledge on inter-dividual differences rather than undermining tDCS effectiveness could enhance protocols’ efficiency and reproducibility.

Vergallito, A., Feroldi, S., Pisoni, A., Romero Lauro, L. (2022). Inter-Individual Variability in tDCS Effects: A Narrative Review on the Contribution of Stable, Variable, and Contextual Factors. BRAIN SCIENCES, 12(5) [10.3390/brainsci12050522].

Inter-Individual Variability in tDCS Effects: A Narrative Review on the Contribution of Stable, Variable, and Contextual Factors

Alessandra Vergallito
Co-primo
;
Sarah Feroldi
Co-primo
;
Alberto Pisoni
Penultimo
;
Leonor J. Romero Lauro
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Due to its safety, portability, and cheapness, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) use largely increased in research and clinical settings. Despite tDCS’s wide application, previous works pointed out inconsistent and low replicable results, sometimes leading to extreme conclusions about tDCS’s ineffectiveness in modulating behavioral performance across cognitive domains. Traditionally, this variability has been linked to significant differences in the stimulation protocols across studies, including stimulation parameters, target regions, and electrodes montage. Here, we reviewed and discussed evidence of heterogeneity emerging at the intra-study level, namely inter-individual differences that may influence the response to tDCS within each study. This source of variability has been largely neglected by literature, being results mainly analyzed at the group level. Previous research, however, highlighted that only a half—or less—of studies’ participants could be classified as responders, being affected by tDCS in the expected direction. Stable and variable inter-individual differences, such as morphological and genetic features vs. hormonal/exogenous substance consumption, partially account for this heterogeneity. Moreover, variability comes from experiments’ contextual elements, such as participants’ engagement/baseline capacity and individual task difficulty. We concluded that increasing knowledge on inter-dividual differences rather than undermining tDCS effectiveness could enhance protocols’ efficiency and reproducibility.
Articolo in rivista - Review Essay
inter-individual differences; inter-subject variability; noninvasive brain stimulation; reproducibility; tDCS;
English
28
Vergallito, A., Feroldi, S., Pisoni, A., Romero Lauro, L. (2022). Inter-Individual Variability in tDCS Effects: A Narrative Review on the Contribution of Stable, Variable, and Contextual Factors. BRAIN SCIENCES, 12(5) [10.3390/brainsci12050522].
Vergallito, A; Feroldi, S; Pisoni, A; Romero Lauro, L
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/395931
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