The effect of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on gamma activity and working memory in schizophrenia

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Working memory impairments in schizophrenia have been strongly associated with abnormalities in gamma oscillations within the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLFPC). We recently published the first ever study showing that anodal transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to the left DLPFC was able to significantly improve working memory performance in schizophrenia. In the current paper we present a secondary analysis from this study, specifically looking at the effect of tDCS on gamma activity and its relationship to working memory. In a repeated measures design we assessed the impact of anodal tDCS (1mA, 2mA, sham) on gamma activity in the left DLPFC at three time-points post-stimulation (0. min, 20. min, 40. min). EEG data was available for 16 participants in the 2mA condition, 13 in the 1mA condition and 12 in the sham condition. Following 2mA stimulation we found a significant increase in gamma event-related synchronisation in the left DLPFC, this was in the context of a significantly improved working memory performance. There was also a significant decrease in gamma event-related synchronisation, with no changes in working memory, following sham stimulation. The current study provides preliminary evidence that tDCS may enhance working memory in schizophrenia by restoring normal gamma oscillatory function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2015


  • Gamma oscillations
  • Schizophrenia
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
  • Working memory

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