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Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation does not induce analgesic effects on experimentally induced pain

Scherrer, Brandon A. (2018) Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation does not induce analgesic effects on experimentally induced pain. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Chronic pain is a disabling condition in which the adaptive link between pain intensity and tissue damage is lacking. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that induces analgesic effects on experimentally induced pain when applied at the primary motor cortex (M1), and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). However, whether greater analgesic effects occur when tDCS is applied simultaneously at the M1 and the DLPFC is unknown, and is the primary aim of the current study. Nineteen healthy adult volunteers (12 male; Mage = 29.21, SD = 10.78, range 20 to 52) participated in a double blinded, crossover, sham controlled, randomised design. Dependent variables were self-reported pain ratings to punctuate pinprick stimuli, and the current level required of electrical stimulation to elicit moderate pain. These ratings were obtained pretest, posttest, and follow up of 20 min of anodal tDCS applied at the M1, DLPFC, M1 + DLPFC, or sham tDCS. Results indicate that pain to pinprick stimuli and the current level required to elicit moderate increased from pretest, posttest, and follow up. However, this was irrespective of the tDCS condition administered. Methodological inconsistencies pertaining to the administration of tDCS in the current study include lower current intensity and smaller electrode size as compared to past research. Thus, the tDCS stimulation parameters employed in the current study may have not been efficacious to inducing analgesic effects. Therefore, the current study highlights theoretical implications for future research to employ established tDCS parameters.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Supervisor(s): Vo, Lechi
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