Depression and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00256438
Recruitment Status : Unknown
Verified July 2006 by The University of New South Wales.
Recruitment status was:  Recruiting
First Posted : November 21, 2005
Last Update Posted : July 10, 2006
Information provided by:
The University of New South Wales

November 17, 2005
November 21, 2005
July 10, 2006
February 2006
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  • All measures at baseline and after each 5 treatments:
  • Montgomery& Asberg Depression Rating Scale
  • Hamilton Psychiatric Rating Scale for Depression
  • Clinical Global Impression-Severity
  • Beck Depression Inventory
  • Patient Global Impression-Severity
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00256438 on Archive Site
  • Neuropsychological assessment at baseline and after each 5 treatments:
  • Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Task
  • Digit span
  • Trail Making Test
  • Controlled Oral Word Association
Same as current
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Depression and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)
The Treatment of Depression Using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS): a Pilot Study.
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)is a non invasive technique which uses a very weak current to change excitability in targeted regions of the brain. Early studies suggest that it has antidepressant properties. This study will test the safety and efficacy of tDCS as a treatment for depression.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applies a weak direct current across the scalp that can produce sub-threshold changes in the excitability of targeted cortical regions, in a polarity-specific manner. This technique has been used in humans to alter motor and visual cortex excitability, during stimulation, and for a period after the stimulation has ceased. It has therefore been suggested as a possible treatment for depression (Lippold & Redfearn, 1964; Nitsche, 2002). Studies have been launched recently to examine the effect of tDCS in depressed subjects and a sham-controlled pilot study (in USA, in press) has reported promising antidepressant effects with tDCS.

We wish to examine this in an investigation of 20 subjects, and hypothesise that tDCS will have an antidepressant effect and produce no neuropsychological impairment. Subjects will receive anodal DC stimulation or sham stimulation over the left prefrontal cortex in a double-blind, placebo-controlled design over 5 days, and then have daily stimulation up to a maximum of 10 active sessions in total. Outcomes will be formally evaluated by depression rating scales and neuropsychological tests.

Phase 1
Phase 2
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Device: Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
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*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Unknown status
Same as current
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Inclusion Criteria:

  • DSM-IV Major Depressive Episode of less than or equal to 3 years
  • Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale score of 25 or more
  • Aged 18-65
  • May or may not be taking antidepressant medication

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Not able to give written informed consent
  • Failure to respond to ECT in current or past episodes of depression
  • On antipsychotic, anticonvulsant or benzodiazepine medication which cannot be withdrawn.
  • Significant other Axis I psychiatric disorder e.g schizophrenia, bipolar
  • In imminent physical or psychological danger and needs a rapid clinical response due to inanition, psychosis or high suicidality
  • Drug or alcohol dependence or abuse currently or in the last 12 months
  • History of neurological illness e.g epilepsy; neurosurgical procedure
  • Metal in the cranium, pacemaker, cochlear implant, medication or other electronic device in the body
  • Woman of child-bearing age in whom pregnancy cannot be ruled out by B HCG
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
18 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
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The University of New South Wales
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Principal Investigator: Perminder P Sachdev, FRANZCP PhD University of NSW
Principal Investigator: Colleen K Loo, FRANZCP, MD University of NSW
The University of New South Wales
July 2006

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP