Transcranial Electrical Stimulation to Enhance Cognitive Abilities in the Atypically Developing Brain
Krause B., Looi CY., Cohen Kadosh R.
© 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Individuals with developmental learning disabilities and behavioral disorders show structural and functional abnormalities in certain brain areas, and suffer with severe educational and career consequences. Cognitive interventions show only limited success for improvement. In order to alleviate the burden on the affected individual and the society as a whole, we need to target these neural deficits. Transcranial electrical stimulation (tES), with its large variety of methods to enhance and decrease cortical excitability, is a promising tool to achieve improvements at both brain and behavioral levels. Here we discuss the current options for stimulation and the biological effects, and how these can be applied in some examples of cognitive and behavioral deficits. We also note the importance of safety guidelines and careful assessment in preclinical studies, as well as in clinical pediatric populations, as the evidence in these cases is currently minimal. Overall, we suggest that tES can have the capacity to redirect atypical brain development and have a positive impact on educational difficulties. Future developments in the optimization of training and stimulation parameters might allow us to remove the neural brakes on learning in a variety of child developmental disorders.