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Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Systematic Review

by Jérôme Brunelin 1,2,3,4,*, Marine Mondino 1,2,3,4, Rémy Bation 1,2,3,4,5, Ulrich Palm 6, Mohamed Saoud 1,2,3,4,5 and Emmanuel Poulet 1,2,3,4,7
INSERM, U1028, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, PSY-R2 team, F-69000 Lyon, France
CNRS, UMR5292, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, PSY-R2 Team, F-69000 Lyon, France
University Lyon, F-69000 Lyon, France
Centre Hospitalier le Vinatier, F-69678 Bron, France
Psychiatry Unit,Wertheimer Hospital, CHU Lyon, F-69500 Bron, France
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Klinikum der Universität München, D-80336 Munich, Germany
Psychiatry Emergency Unit, Edouard Herriot Hospital, CHU, F-69000 Lyon, France
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(2), 37;
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Research in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Major Depression)
Despite the advances in psychopharmacology and established psychotherapeutic interventions, more than 40% of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) do not respond to conventional treatment approaches. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been recently proposed as a therapeutic tool to alleviate treatment-resistant symptoms in patients with OCD. The aim of this review was to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of the art and future clinical applications of tDCS in patients with OCD. A literature search conducted on the PubMed database following PRISMA guidelines and completed by a manual search yielded 12 results: eight case reports, three open-label studies (with 5, 8, and 42 participants), and one randomized trial with two active conditions (12 patients). There was no sham-controlled study. A total of 77 patients received active tDCS with a large diversity of electrode montages mainly targeting the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the orbitofrontal cortex or the (pre-) supplementary motor area. Despite methodological limitations and the heterogeneity of stimulation parameters, tDCS appears to be a promising tool to decrease obsessive-compulsive symptoms as well as comorbid depression and anxiety in patients with treatment-resistant OCD. Further sham-controlled studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results. View Full-Text
Keywords: OCD; tDCS; brain stimulation; neuromodulation; obsession; compulsion OCD; tDCS; brain stimulation; neuromodulation; obsession; compulsion
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Brunelin, J.; Mondino, M.; Bation, R.; Palm, U.; Saoud, M.; Poulet, E. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Systematic Review. Brain Sci. 2018, 8, 37.

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