Impact of transcranial direct current stimulation on sustained attention in breast cancer survivors: Evidence for feasibility, tolerability, and initial efficacy Journal Article


Authors: Gaynor, A. M.; Pergolizzi, D.; Alici, Y.; Ryan, E.; McNeal, K.; Ahles, T. A.; Root, J. C.
Article Title: Impact of transcranial direct current stimulation on sustained attention in breast cancer survivors: Evidence for feasibility, tolerability, and initial efficacy
Abstract: Background: A significant subset of breast cancer survivors experience cognitive difficulties in attention and memory, which persist for years following treatment. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been shown to be effective in improving working memory, attention, processing speed, and other cognitive functions in both healthy and clinical populations. To date, no studies have examined tDCS for rehabilitation of cancer-related cognitive dysfunction. Objective/hypothesis: We aimed to provide preliminary evidence for feasibility, tolerability, acceptability, and efficacy of tDCS in improving performance on a measure of sustained attention. Methods: In a within-subjects design, 16 breast cancer survivors underwent 2 consecutive days of active tDCS over the prefrontal cortex, and 2 days of sham tDCS, counterbalanced for order of stimulation condition, while performing a continuous performance test. Results: Stimulation was feasible and tolerable, with 89% of participants completing all sessions, and none reporting more than mild to moderate discomfort. Analyses of efficacy showed that during active stimulation, participants had significantly lower standard errors of reaction times overall, indicating better sustained attention ability, as compared to sham stimulation (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the effect of stimulation on standard errors of reaction times differed by inter-stimulus interval (ISI): for 1 and 2 s ISIs, there was no significant difference in performance between sham and active tDCS conditions, but for 4 s ISIs, stimulation improved variability in response times relative to sham (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Results suggest that tDCS is feasible, tolerable, and may be an effective intervention to improve sustained attention difficulties in survivors with cancer-related cognitive dysfunction. © 2020
Keywords: adult; clinical article; breast cancer; cancer survivor; feasibility study; cognitive rehabilitation; headache; somnolence; attention disturbance; sham procedure; skin redness; mental performance; neck pain; reaction time; working memory; single blind procedure; skin burning sensation; prefrontal cortex; skin pain; skin tingling; scalp pruritus; human; female; priority journal; article; tdcs; transcranial direct current stimulation; sustained attention; processing speed; cancer-related cognitive dysfunction; continuous performance test; program acceptability
Journal Title: Brain Stimulation
Volume: 13
Issue: 4
ISSN: 1935-861X
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.  
Date Published: 2020-07-01
Start Page: 1108
End Page: 1116
Language: English
DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2020.04.013
PUBMED: 32353419
PROVIDER: scopus
DOI/URL:
Notes: Article -- Source: Scopus
Altmetric
Citation Impact
MSK Authors
  1. Tim A Ahles
    111 Ahles
  2. Elizabeth Ryan
    9 Ryan
  3. Yesne Alici
    53 Alici
  4. James Charles Root
    53 Root
  5. Alexandra Gaynor
    1 Gaynor
  6. Katrazyna J Mcneal
    1 Mcneal