Preliminary findings suggest that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can have antidepressant effects. We sought to test this further in a parallel-group, double-blind clinical trial with 40 patients with major depression, medication-free randomized into three groups of treatment: anodal tDCS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (active group - 'DLPFC'); anodal tDCS of the occipital cortex (active control group - 'occipital') and sham tDCS (placebo control group - 'sham'). tDCS was applied for 10 sessions during a 2-wk period. Mood was evaluated by a blinded rater using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The treatment was well tolerated with minimal side-effects that were distributed equally across all treatment groups. We found significantly larger reductions in depression scores after DLPFC tDCS [HDRS reduction of 40.4% (+/-25.8%)] compared to occipital [HDRS reduction of 21.3% (+/-12.9%)] and sham tDCS [HDRS reduction of 10.4% (+/-36.6%)]. The beneficial effects of tDCS in the DLPFC group persisted for 1 month after the end of treatment. Our findings support further investigation on the effects of this novel potential therapeutic approach - tDCS - for the treatment of major depression.