The short-term effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on electroencephalography in children with autism: a randomized crossover controlled trial

Behav Neurol. 2015;2015:928631. doi: 10.1155/2015/928631. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

Abstract

Abnormal synaptic maturation and connectivity are possible etiologies of autism. Previous studies showed significantly less alpha activity in autism than normal children. Therefore, we studied the effects of anodal tDCS on peak alpha frequency (PAF) related to autism treatment evaluation checklist (ATEC). Twenty male children with autism were randomly assigned in a crossover design to receive a single session of both active and sham tDCS stimulation (11 mA) over F3 (left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex). Pre- to postsession changes in a measure of cortical activity impacted by tDCS (PAF) and ATEC were compared between groups. We also examined the associations between pre- and postsession changes in the PAF and ATEC. The results show significant pre- to postsession improvements in two domains of ATEC (social and health/behavior domains) following active tDCS, relative to sham treatment. PAF also significantly increased at the stimulation site, and an increase in PAF was significantly associated with improvements in the two domains of ATEC impacted by tDCS. The findings suggest that a single session of anodal tDCS over the F3 may have clinical benefits in children with autism and that those benefits may be related to an increase in PAF.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / physiopathology
  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome