Effects of a combination of cognitive training and brain stimulation on physiological cue-reactivity in alcohol dependence

Sandra Helinski

T.E. den Uyl, Gladwin, T.E., Rinck, M., Lindenmeyer, J., Wiers, R.W.
In our project we tried to influence excitability in the dorsolateral prefrontal (DLPFC) cortex with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). We combined this with cognitive bias modification (CBM) to investigate the potential of these two techniques as an intervention for alcohol dependent patients. We found a small effect of tDCS on bias acquisition during the training tasks, however, no lasting beneficial effects on bias were found post intervention. We also could not find effects of tDCS on craving or heart rate variability in response to alcohol cues. This could be due to craving being very low in this sample; future studies could benefit from using stronger craving induction techniques. We did find a promising trend of tDCS on relapse after one year, but replication is necessary to find more reliable effects.