tDCS on autonomic function in soccer players

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Effect of tDCS on well-being and autonomic function in professional male players after official soccer matches.

This study aimed to examine the effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) used as a recovery strategy, on heart rate (HR) measures and perceived well-being in 12 male professional soccer players. tDCS was applied in the days after official matches targeting the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) with 2 mA for 20 min (F3-F4 montage). Participants were randomly assigned to anodal tDCS (a-tDCS) or sham tDCS sessions. Players completed the Well-Being Questionnaire (WBQ) and performed the Submaximal Running Test (SRT) before and after tDCS. HR during exercise (HRex) was determined during the last 30 s of SRT. HR recovery (HRR) was recorded at 60 s after SRT. The HRR index was calculated from the absolute difference between HRex and HRR. A significant increase was observed for WBQ (effect of time; p<0.001; ηp2=0.417) with no effect for condition or interaction. A decrease in HRR (p=0.014; ηp2=0.241), and an increase in HRR index were observed (p=0.045; ηp2=0.168), with no effect for condition or interaction. No change for HRex was evident (p>0.05). These results suggest that a-tDCS over the DLPFC may have a positive effect on enhancing well-being and parasympathetic autonomic markers, which opens up a possibility for testing tDCS as a promising recovery-enhancing strategy targeting the brain in soccer players. The findings suggest that brain areas related to emotional and autonomic control might be involved in these changes with a possible interaction effect of tDCS by placebo-related effects, but more research is needed to verify this effect.

PMID: 33556409 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Physiol Behav. 2021 Feb 05;:113351

Authors: Moreira A, Machado DGDS, Moscaleski L, Bikson M, Unal G, Bradley PS, Baptista AF, Morya E, Cevada T, Marques L, Zanetti V, Okano AH