Effect of Home-Based Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Depressive Symptoms in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Sham-Controlled Clinical Trial.

Mota SM1,2, Riedel P5, Castro L1,2, Sanches P3, Caumo W4, Bianchin MM1,2

  1. Laboratório BRAIN. Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Médicas - Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul ; 2. BRAIN. Serviço de Neurologia do Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre ; 3. Laboratório de Engenharia Biomédica da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
  2. Laboratório de Dor & Neuromodulação do Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre
  3. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul.

OBJECTIVE: This double-blind randomized clinical trial was designed to study the effects of home-based transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in depressive symptoms of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).

METHODS: We evaluated 26 adults with TLE and depressive symptoms randomized in two different groups: active tDCS (tDCSa) or sham (tDCSs). The patients were submitted to 20 sessions of tDCS, for 20 minutes daily, 5 days a week, during 4 weeks. After, they received a maintenance tDCS application in the research laboratory once a week, during 3 weeks. The intensity of the current was 2mA, applied bilaterally over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, with the anode positioned on the left side and the cathode on the right side. Participants were evaluated on days 1, 15, 30 and 60 of the study, using the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI).

RESULTS: The groups did not differ in relation to their clinical, socioeconomic and psychometric characteristics in the initial assessment. The tDCS treatment was very well tolerated and did not increase the frequency of seizures. On average, between the 1st and the 60th day, the BDI score decreased 42.39% active group and 45.55% in the sham group (ΔBDIfinal – initial = -12.10 vs -12.44, p = 0.68).

CONCLUSIONS: Both the tDCSa and tDCSs groups showed significant and similar improvement in depressive symptoms at the end of the intervention. In our view, this result could be attributed to a placebo effect.

KEYWORDS: Home-based Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation; Temporal Lobe Epilepsy; Depressive Symptoms; Neuromodulation; Non-Pharmacological Interventions.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: None

FUNDING/FINANCIAL SUPPORT: CNPq,CAPES, FIPE-HCPA.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21801/ppcrj.2020.S1.29