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Burkhardt, Gerrit; Goerigk, Stephan; Dechantsreiter, Esther; Bulubas, Lucia; Soldini, Aldo; Zwanzger, Peter; Diemer, Julia; Padberg, Frank; Brunnauer, Alexander; Kumpf, Ulrike (2023): Driving-related cognitive skills during antidepressant transcranial direct current stimulation: results in a subsample from the DepressionDC trial. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 14: 1255415. ISSN 1664-0640

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Therapeutic transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a well-tolerated neuromodulatory intervention. However, there are currently no data on its impact on driving skills. Therefore, we conducted a validated assessment of driving-related cognitive skills in participants of the DepressionDC trial, a multicenter, randomized-controlled trial investigating the antidepressant effects of 6-week prefrontal tDCS in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Twenty-one patients (12 women, active tDCS, n = 11, sham, n = 10) underwent an assessment of driving-related cognitive skills before and after the intervention. Using a Bayesian analysis approach, we found no group differences between active tDCS and sham tDCS in the pre-post treatment changes for visual perception (estimated median difference: 3.41 [−3.17, 10.55 89%-CI], BF 01 : 2.1), stress tolerance (estimated median difference: 0.77 [−2.40, 4.15 89%-CI], BF 01 : 1.6), and reaction time (estimated median difference: 2.06 [−12.33, 16.83 89%-CI], BF 01 : 6.5). Our results indicate that repeated sessions of a conventional bifrontal tDCS protocol do not negatively impact driving-related cognitive skills in patients with MDD.

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