Transcranial Oscillatory Direct Current Stimulation During Sleep Improves Declarative Memory Consolidation in Children With attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder to a Level Comparable to Healthy Controls

Brain Stimul. Nov-Dec 2014;7(6):793-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2014.07.036. Epub 2014 Jul 23.


Background: Slow oscillations (<1 Hz) during slow wave sleep (SWS) promote the consolidation of declarative memory. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been shown to display deficits in sleep-dependent consolidation of declarative memory supposedly due to dysfunctional slow brain rhythms during SWS.

Objective: Using transcranial oscillating direct current stimulation (toDCS) at 0.75 Hz, we investigated whether an externally triggered increase in slow oscillations during early SWS elevates memory performance in children with ADHD.

Methods: 12 children with ADHD underwent a toDCS and a sham condition in a double-blind crossover study design conducted in a sleep laboratory. Memory was tested using a 2D object-location task. In addition, 12 healthy children performed the same memory task in their home environment.

Results: Stimulation enhanced slow oscillation power in children with ADHD and boosted memory performance to the same level as in healthy children.

Conclusion: These data indicate that increasing slow oscillation power during sleep by toDCS can alleviate declarative memory deficits in children with ADHD.

Keywords: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; Children; Declarative memory; Sleep; Slow oscillations; Transcranial oscillating direct current stimulation.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / complications
  • Memory Disorders / therapy*
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation*