The role of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in tourette syndrome: a review and preliminary findings

Valsamma Eapen*, Richard Baker, Amelia Walter, Veena Raghupathy, Jordan J. Wehrman, Paul F. Sowman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that is being investigated for a variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions. Preliminary evidence suggests that tDCS may be useful in the treatment of Tourette Syndrome (TS). This paper reviews the literature on the use of tDCS in commonly occurring comorbid conditions that are relevant to its proposed use in TS.We describe the protocol for a double-blind, crossover, sham-controlled trial of tDCS (Trial ID: ACTRN12615000592549, registered at investigating the efficacy, feasibility, safety, and tolerability of tDCS in patients with TS aged 12 years and over. The intervention consists of cathodal tDCS positioned over the Supplementary Motor Area. Patients receive either sham tDCS for three weeks followed by six weeks of active tDCS (1.4 mA, 18 sessions over six weeks), or six weeks of active sessions followed by three weeks of sham sessions, with follow-up at three and six months. Pilot findings from two patients are presented. There was a reduction in the frequency and intensity of patients’ tics and premonitory urges, as well as evidence of improvements in inhibitory function, over the course of treatment. Larger scale studies are indicated to ascertain the maintenance of symptom improvement over time, as well as the long-term consequences of the repetitions of sessions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number161
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)
  • Treatment


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