tACS is being studied for targeting alpha oscillations in patients with MDD

In patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), abnormal, elevated oscillating activity of the alpha frequency brain waves have been observed—mostly located in the left frontal regions of the brain. This increased alpha oscillation strength in depressed patients have been correlated with a state of low neuronal activity leading to abnormal affective processing. Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill posits renormalizing this abnormal alpha activity can improve MDD symptoms in patients.

Researchers aimed to renormalize these alpha oscillations in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) by using 10 and 40 Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS)—with anodes placed at F3 and F4, and a cathode at Cz. 32 subjects were used in the study and found patients had a significant reduction in alpha oscillations over the left frontal region after being treated with the 10 Hz tACS protocol. This paper seems to suggest targeting oscillations of alpha waves with tACS can potentially be used as an effective therapeutic intervention for MDD.

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