Safety and Tolerability of tDCS in Children and Adolescents.

Systematic Review on the Safety and Tolerability of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Children and Adolescents.

BACKGROUND: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a safe, tolerable, and acceptable technique in adults. However, there is limited evidence for its safety in youth. Although limited, there are a handful of important empirical articles that have evaluated safety and tolerability outcomes in youth. However, a synthesis of pediatric safety studies is not currently available.
OBJECTIVE: To synthesize objective evidence regarding the safety and tolerability of pediatric tDCS based on the current state of the literature.
METHODS: Our search and report used PRISMA guidelines. Our method systematically examined investigations purposefully designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and acceptability of tDCS in healthy and atypical youth that were submitted to three databases, from the beginning of the database to November 2019. Safety considerations were evaluated by studies utilizing neuroimaging, physiological changes, performance on tasks, and by analyzing reported and objective side effects; tolerability via rate of adverse events; and acceptability via rate of dropouts.
RESULTS: We report on 203 sham sessions, 864 active sessions up to 2 mA, and 303 active hours of stimulation in 156 children. A total of 4.4% of the active sessions were in neurotypical controls, with the other 95.6% in clinical subjects.
CONCLUSION: In spite of the fact that the current evidence is sporadic and scarce, the presently reviewed literature provides support for the safety, tolerability, and acceptability, of tDCS in youth for 1-20 sessions of 20 min up to 2 mA. Future pediatric tDCS research is encouraged.

PMID: 33578648 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Brain Sci. 2021 Feb 10;11(2):

Authors: Buchanan DM, Bogdanowicz T, Khanna N, Lockman-Dufour G, Robaey P, D’Angiulli A




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