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Article

Feasibility of Combining Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Active Fully Embodied Virtual Reality for Visual Height Intolerance: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Study

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Department of Addictology and Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, CHU Nantes, F-44000 Nantes, France
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French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), UMR 1246 SPHERE, Université of Nantes, F-44000 Nantes, France
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Laboratory “Movement, Interactions, Performance” (MIP), University of Nantes, E.A. 4334, F-44000 Nantes, France
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The Enteric Nervous System in Gut and Brain Disorders, INSERM, IMAD, Department of Biology, Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry, and TENS, CHU Nantes, F-44000 Nantes, France
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Department of Methodology and Biostatistics, CHU Nantes, F-44000 Nantes, France
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Department of Promotion, CHU Nantes, F-44000 Nantes, France
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Department of Psychology, University of Nantes, F-44312 Nantes, France
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Department of Psychology, University of Lorraine, Interpsy, F-54000 Nancy, France
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Economic Evaluation and Health Products Development Service, Partnership and Innovation Department, CHU Nantes, F-44000 Nantes, France
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LS2N—UMR 6004 CNRS, University of Nantes, F-44000 Nantes, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Chris Baeken and Virginie Moulier
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(2), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11020345
Received: 20 November 2021 / Revised: 2 January 2022 / Accepted: 5 January 2022 / Published: 11 January 2022
Background: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET) are individually increasingly used in psychiatric research. Objective/Hypothesis: Our study aimed to investigate the feasibility of combining tDCS and wireless 360° full immersive active and embodied VRET to reduce height-induced anxiety. Methods: We carried out a pilot randomized, double-blind, controlled study associating VRET (two 20 min sessions with a 48 h interval, during which, participants had to cross a plank at rising heights in a building in construction) with online tDCS (targeting the ventromedial prefrontal cortex) in 28 participants. The primary outcomes were the sense of presence level and the tolerability. The secondary outcomes were the anxiety level (Subjective Unit of Discomfort) and the salivary cortisol concentration. Results: We confirmed the feasibility of the association between tDCS and fully embodied VRET associated with a good sense of presence without noticeable adverse effects. In both groups, a significant reduction in the fear of height was observed after two sessions, with only a small effect size of add-on tDCS (0.1) according to the SUD. The variations of cortisol concentration differed in the tDCS and sham groups. Conclusion: Our study confirmed the feasibility of the association between wireless online tDCS and active, fully embodied VRET. The optimal tDCS paradigm remains to be determined in this context to increase effect size and then adequately power future clinical studies assessing synergies between both techniques. View Full-Text
Keywords: virtual reality; transcranial direct current stimulation; anxiety; visual height intolerance; therapy; treatment virtual reality; transcranial direct current stimulation; anxiety; visual height intolerance; therapy; treatment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bulteau, S.; Laurin, A.; Bach-Ngohou, K.; Péré, M.; Vibet, M.-A.; Hardouin, J.-B.; Sebille, V.; Lagalice, L.; Faurel-Paul, É.; Acier, D.; Rabeyron, T.; Riche, V.-P.; Sauvaget, A.; Melki, F.; Vigier, T.; Perreira Da Silva, M.; Charlet, O.; Prié, Y. Feasibility of Combining Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Active Fully Embodied Virtual Reality for Visual Height Intolerance: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Study. J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11, 345. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11020345

AMA Style

Bulteau S, Laurin A, Bach-Ngohou K, Péré M, Vibet M-A, Hardouin J-B, Sebille V, Lagalice L, Faurel-Paul É, Acier D, Rabeyron T, Riche V-P, Sauvaget A, Melki F, Vigier T, Perreira Da Silva M, Charlet O, Prié Y. Feasibility of Combining Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Active Fully Embodied Virtual Reality for Visual Height Intolerance: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Study. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2022; 11(2):345. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11020345

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bulteau, Samuel, Andrew Laurin, Kalyane Bach-Ngohou, Morgane Péré, Marie-Anne Vibet, Jean-Benoit Hardouin, Véronique Sebille, Lydie Lagalice, Élodie Faurel-Paul, Didier Acier, Thomas Rabeyron, Valéry-Pierre Riche, Anne Sauvaget, Florian Melki, Toinon Vigier, Matthieu Perreira Da Silva, Olivier Charlet, and Yannick Prié. 2022. "Feasibility of Combining Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Active Fully Embodied Virtual Reality for Visual Height Intolerance: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Study" Journal of Clinical Medicine 11, no. 2: 345. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11020345

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