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Jaber Alizadehgoradel

JaberAlizadehgoradel, VahidNejati, FaribaSadeghi Movahed, Saeed Imani, Mina Taherifard, Mohsen Mosayebi-Samani, Carmelo M.Vicario, Michael A.Nitsche, Mohammad AliSalehinejadeh
Repeated stimulation of the dorsolateral-prefrontal cortex improves executive dysfunctions and craving in drug addiction: A randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study

Abstract Background According to the neurocognitive model of addiction, the development and maintenance of drug addiction is associated with cognitive control deficits, as well as decreased activity of prefrontal regions, especially the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). This study investigated how improving executive functions (EFs) impacts methamphetamine-use disorder, which has been less explored compared to craving, but might be a central aspect for the therapeutic efficacy of DLPFC stimulation in drug addiction. Methods We assessed the efficacy of 10 repeated sessions of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the DLPFC on executive dysfunctions in methamphetamine-use disorder, and its association with craving alterations. 39 of 50 initially recruited individuals with methamphetamine-use disorder who were in the abstinent-course treatment were randomly assigned to “active” and “sham” stimulation groups in a randomized, double-blind parallel-group study. They received active (2 mA, 20 min) or sham tDCS for 10 sessions over 5 weeks. Performance on major EF tasks (e.g., working memory, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and risk-taking behaviour) and craving were measured before, immediately after, and 1 month following the intervention. Participants reported abstinence from drug consumption throughout the experiment, verified by regular urine tests during the course of the study up to the follow-up measurement. Results The group which received active DLPFC tDCS showed significantly improved task performance across all EFs immediately after and 1 month following the intervention, when compared to both pre-stimulation baseline and individuals who received sham tDCS. Similarly, a significant reduction in craving was observed immediately after and 1 month following the intervention in the active, but not sham stimulation group. A significant correlation between cognitive control improvement and craving reduction was found as well. Conclusions Improvement of cognitive control functions is closely associated with reduced craving. Repeated DLPFC stimulation in order to improve executive control could be a promising approach for therapeutic interventions in drug addiction. However, the observed findings require further confirmation by studies that measure relapse/consumption of the respective substances over longer follow-up measurements.



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