Negative symptoms (NS), conceived as Avolition-Apathy (AA) and Expressive Deficit (EXP) domains, and neurocognitive impairments represent unmet therapeutic needs for patients with schizophrenia. The present study investigated if bilateral bipolar-nonbalanced frontal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) could improve these psychopathological dimensions. This randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled study (active-tDCS versus sham-tDCS, both, n = 25) included 50 outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia clinically stabilized. Patients received 20-min 2 mA active-tDCS or sham-tDCS (anode: left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex; cathode: right orbitofrontal region). Primary outcomes included: PANSS-Negative subscale, Negative Factor (Neg-PANSS), AA and EXP domains; neurocognitive performance at Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia. Secondary outcomes included: PANSS subscales and total score, Disorganized/Concrete (DiscC-PANSS) and Positive Factors, Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scores, clinical insight at Scale to Assess Unawareness of Mental Disorder (SUMD). Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed evaluating between-group changes over time. Significant improvements following active-tDCS were observed for all NS measures (all, p < 0.001; d > 0.8) and for working memory (p = 0.025, d = 0.31). Greater variations following to active treatment emerged also for PANSS-General Psychopathology subscale (p < 0.001; d = 0.54), PANSS total score (p < 0.001; d = 0.69), CGI indexes (all, p < 0.001; d > 0.6), DiscC-PANSS (p < 0.001; d = 0.80) and SUMD-general Unawareness index (p = 0.005; d = 0.15) but not for positive symptoms and others insight measures. Good safety/tolerability profiles were found. Bilateral bipolar-nonbalanced frontal-tDCS is a non-pharmacological approach in schizophrenia effectively improving NS, particularly the AA and EXP domains, probably acting by modulating dysfunctional cortical-subcortical networks. Preliminary results also suggest working memory improvements following tDCS. Further studies are needed to confirm the neurobiological basis of these results.

Effects of bilateral, bipolar-nonbalanced, frontal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on negative symptoms and neurocognition in a sample of patients living with schizophrenia: Results of a randomized double-blind sham-controlled trial

Lisoni J.;Baldacci G.;Nibbio G.;Zucchetti A.;Butti Lemmi Gigli E.;Savorelli A.;Facchi M.;Miotto P.;Deste G.;Barlati S.;Vita A.
2022-01-01

Abstract

Negative symptoms (NS), conceived as Avolition-Apathy (AA) and Expressive Deficit (EXP) domains, and neurocognitive impairments represent unmet therapeutic needs for patients with schizophrenia. The present study investigated if bilateral bipolar-nonbalanced frontal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) could improve these psychopathological dimensions. This randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled study (active-tDCS versus sham-tDCS, both, n = 25) included 50 outpatients diagnosed with schizophrenia clinically stabilized. Patients received 20-min 2 mA active-tDCS or sham-tDCS (anode: left Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex; cathode: right orbitofrontal region). Primary outcomes included: PANSS-Negative subscale, Negative Factor (Neg-PANSS), AA and EXP domains; neurocognitive performance at Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia. Secondary outcomes included: PANSS subscales and total score, Disorganized/Concrete (DiscC-PANSS) and Positive Factors, Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scores, clinical insight at Scale to Assess Unawareness of Mental Disorder (SUMD). Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed evaluating between-group changes over time. Significant improvements following active-tDCS were observed for all NS measures (all, p < 0.001; d > 0.8) and for working memory (p = 0.025, d = 0.31). Greater variations following to active treatment emerged also for PANSS-General Psychopathology subscale (p < 0.001; d = 0.54), PANSS total score (p < 0.001; d = 0.69), CGI indexes (all, p < 0.001; d > 0.6), DiscC-PANSS (p < 0.001; d = 0.80) and SUMD-general Unawareness index (p = 0.005; d = 0.15) but not for positive symptoms and others insight measures. Good safety/tolerability profiles were found. Bilateral bipolar-nonbalanced frontal-tDCS is a non-pharmacological approach in schizophrenia effectively improving NS, particularly the AA and EXP domains, probably acting by modulating dysfunctional cortical-subcortical networks. Preliminary results also suggest working memory improvements following tDCS. Further studies are needed to confirm the neurobiological basis of these results.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11379/569376
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 5
  • Scopus 12
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 10
social impact