Applied Strategies for MRI-Guided High-Definition tDCS for Major Depression

Project: Research project

Project Details


Depression is a leading source of disability across the world, and a significant cause of
suffering and morbidity. Despite a relatively large number of available treatments, many
people go inadequately treated, because first-line treatments can fail or become
ineffective over time, systemic side effects, among other reasons. Noninvasive
neurostimulation methods are becoming increasingly popular, and have the ability to
directly target brain dysfunction thought to be associated with depression. However,
traditional neurostimulation methods like ECT and TMS are expensive, burdensome,
and come with side effects as well. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is an
attractive low-cost alternative, with minimal side effects and capability for at-home use;
however, its effectiveness is uncertain, perhaps due to inefficient engagement of target
brain regions and networks. This proposal seeks to use MRI to understand and improve
this promising therapy for depression, by using focal “high definition” electrodes to
target a regional of prefrontal cortex determined by each patient’s unique underlying
functional neuroanatomy. Changes in brain activity and brain function will be measured,
and outcomes will be used to inform future larger-scale grant applications and
mechanistic trials. Furthermore, strategies developed by this research could be applied
to investigations of any neurostimulation technology to treat a variety of mental health
and other conditions affecting brain function.
Effective start/end date1/15/211/14/23


  • Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (#29456)


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