tDCS in Children

*Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not medical advice. The information in this article reproduces evidence from the cited publication literature and it not an endorsement of the use of tDCS for any indication including in children.

A research lab from the University of Ottawa published a review on “Systematic Review on the Safety and Tolerability of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Children and Adolescents” in Brain Sciences. The authors make several conclusions:

  • They report active tDCS sessions up to 2 mA current intensity, over 303 active hours of stimulation in 156 children across published clinical trials
  • This research spanned about 100 authors from 10 countries on 4 continents
  • Across these efforts, tDCS in children appears to be safe and highly tolerable, with only minor levels of discomfort in a minority of children and no serious adverse events.
  • tDCS also appears to be very acceptable in children, with nearly all enrolled subjects in these clinical trials completing treatment courses.
  • The authors state “Therefore, based on the present update, tDCS appears ready for widespread research and increased clinical use in pediatric neurology and neuropsychiatry.”

This work builds on a report from the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta indicating “Safety and tolerability of transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation in children” after 3.5 million stimulations. The authors state “Standard non-invasive brain stimulation paradigms [ tDCS, TMS ] are safe and well-tolerated in children and should be considered minimal risk. Advancement of applications in the developing brain is warranted.”

There have been numerous studies published on tDCS in children for various indications including motor function, and several ongoing clinical trials of tDCS in children include for ADHD and Down Syndrome.


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