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Craving and cognitive deficits are potential treatment targets for methamphetamine use disorder (MUD). Previous studies implied that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and cognitive training respectively improve these symptoms, but the combined effect is unknown. In this study, we investigated the combined effects of tDCS over dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and computerized cognitive addiction therapy (CCAT) on cue-induced craving and cognitive functions among female individuals with MUD. Seventy-five patients with MUD were randomly assigned to three groups: CCAT + tDCS group, CCAT + sham tDCS group and the control group. The former two groups received 20 sessions of cognitive training combined 1.5 mA active/sham tDCS over DLPFC (20min/session, 5times/week), while the control group received usual care which includes routine medical care, health education, physical exercises and psychological support related to relapse prevention. The cue-induced craving and cognitive functions were tested at the baseline, the end of 2nd week and 4th week. The CCAT + tDCS group showed a significant reduction in cue-induced craving after 4-week intervention. Moreover, the craving score of the real CCAT + tDCS group was significantly lower than that of the CCAT + sham tDCS group and that of the control group at the end of 4th week. A significant improvement in accuracy of TWOB task was only observed in the CCAT + tDCS group at the end of 4th week when compared to baseline. Unexpectedly, participants who received CCAT plus active or sham tDCS did not change their discounting, whereas those in the control group performed more impulsively over time. The study found that the intervention of tDCS over DLPFC combined with CCAT may have potential benefit in improving treatment outcome in patients with MUD. More research is needed to explore the underlying mechanism. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Xiaomin Xu, Xinni Ding, Liyu Chen, Tianzhen Chen, Hang Su, Xiaotong Li, Yujian Ye, Wen Shi, Jie Ji, Min Zhao, Na Zhong, Haifeng Jiang. The transcranial direct current stimulation over prefrontal cortex combined with the cognitive training reduced the cue-induced craving in female individuals with methamphetamine use disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of psychiatric research. 2021 Feb;134:102-110

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PMID: 33383492

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