Changes in Cortical Thickness after tDCS-Enhanced Brain Training and Mindfulness Practice

Lieberman1, G., Hunter1, M., Bezdek2, M., Trumbo1, M., Jones1, A., Coffman3, B., McCallion1, E., Armenta1, M., O’Sickey1, A., Brown1, D., Roos1, C., Robinson1, S., Martin2, N., Schumacher2, E., Guarino4, S., Eusebi4, L., Elkin-Frankston4, S., Romero4, V., Witkiewitz1, K., and Clark1, V.

Presented at the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii (June 2015).

The aim of this research was to investigate whether transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with mindfulness training or brain-training games alters cortical thickness. The ability of brain-training games to improve cognition is a controversial issue, though mindfulness training has been shown to improve cognition (Zeidan et al, 2010) and to alter brain structure and function (Brewer et al, 2011; Luders et al, 2009). Training in conjunction with tDCS has also been shown to improve cognition (Fregni et al, 2005; Coffman et al, 2014). We hypothesized that anodal tDCS over the right inferior frontal cortex, in conjunction with brain training and mindfulness, would increase cortical thickness in right prefrontal regions. Likewise, because we predicted that the combination of stimulation with task-related neural activation would both be required to affect changes in cortical thickness, we also hypothesized that an active control condition combined with tDCS would not result in any significant changes.

The University of New Mexico, Department of Psychology, Clinical Neuroscience Center
Georgia Institute of Technology
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Charles River Analytics

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