Non-invasive Brain Stimulation Helps Curb Impulsivity

Neuroimage study demonstrates significant improvement in patients’ inhibitory control

London, 15 June 2011 - Inhibitory control can be boosted with a mild form of brain stimulation, according to a study published in the June 2011 issue of Neuroimage, Elsevier’s Journal of Brain Function. The study’s findings indicate that non-invasive intervention can greatly improve patients’ inhibitory control. Conducted by aresearch team led by Dr Chi-Hung Juan of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, National Central University in Taiwan, the research was sponsored by the National Science Council in Taiwan, the UK Medical Research Council, the Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award, and a Fulbright Award.

The study demonstrates that when a weak electrical current is applied over the front of participants’ scalps for ten minutes, it greatly improved their ability to process responses – effectively jumpstarting the brain’s ability to control impulsivity. The treatment has the potential to serve as a non invasive treatment for patients with conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Tourette's syndrome, drug addictions, or violent impulsivity.

Professor Chi-Hung Juan who led the research team noted, "The findings that electrical stimulation to the brain can improve control of their behavioral urges not only provide further understanding of the neural basis of inhibitory control but also suggest a possible therapeutic intervention method for clinical populations, such as those with drug additions or ADHD, in the future".

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Notes to editors
Modulating inhibitory control with direct current stimulation of the superior medial frontal cortex. NeuroImage(2011). Tzu-Yu Hsu, Lin-Yuan Tseng, Jia-Xin Yu, Wen-Jui Kuo, Daisy L... Hung, Ovid J.L. Tzeng, Vincent Walsh, Neil G. Muggleton and Chi-Hung Juan. 

About Neuroimage
 NeuroImage, a Journal of Brain Function, provides a vehicle for communicating important advances, using imaging and modelling techniques to study structure-function relationships in the brain. The focus of NeuroImage is on brain systems; however, we are happy to consider papers dealing with structure and function at the microscopic level; if they inform the systems level. The main criterion, on which papers are judged, is to what extent does the scientific contribution advance our understanding of the mechanisms of brain function and how this function depends upon its structure and architecture. These mechanisms may operate in health and disease; therefore, NeuroImage welcomes clinical neuroscience papers that are framed to address mechanisms explicitly. The journal publishes original research articles, papers on methods or modelling, theory and position papers that describe the use of imaging approaches to studying the brain.

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