Effect of tDCS on well-being and autonomic function in professional male players after official soccer matches.

Affiliation

Moreira A(1), Machado DGDS(2), Moscaleski L(3), Bikson M(4), Unal G(4), Bradley PS(5), Baptista AF(3), Morya E(6), Cevada T(7), Marques L(8), Zanetti V(8), Okano AH(3).
Author information:
(1)Department of Sport, School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil; Brazilian Institute of Neuroscience and Neurotechnology. Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers - The São Paulo Research Foundation
(BRAINN/CEPID-FAPESP), University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]
(2)Graduate Program in Collective Health, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.
(3)Center of Mathematics, Computation, and Cognition, Universidade Federal do ABC, São Bernardo do Campo, SP, Brazil; Brazilian Institute of Neuroscience and Neurotechnology. Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers - The São Paulo Research Foundation
(BRAINN/CEPID-FAPESP), University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil.
(4)Department of Biomedical Engineering, The City College of New York of CUNY, New York, NY, United States.
(5)Research Institute of Sport & Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
(6)Santos Dumont Institute
(Instituto Internacional de Neurociências Edmond e Lily Safra), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Brazilian Institute of Neuroscience and Neurotechnology. Research, Innovation and Dissemination Centers - The São Paulo Research Foundation
(BRAINN/CEPID-FAPESP), University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil.
(7)Sport Science Program
(PPGCEE), State University of Rio de Janeiro
(UERJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
(8)Red Bull Brazil, São Paulo, Brazil.

Abstract

This study aimed to examine the effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) used as a recovery strategy, on heart rate (HR) measures and perceived well-being in 12 male professional soccer players. tDCS was applied in the days after official matches targeting the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) with 2 mA for 20 min (F3-F4 montage). Participants were randomly assigned to anodal tDCS (a-tDCS) or sham tDCS sessions. Players completed the Well-Being Questionnaire (WBQ) and performed the Submaximal Running Test (SRT) before and after tDCS. HR during exercise (HRex) was determined during the last 30 s of SRT. HR recovery (HRR) was recorded at 60 s after SRT. The HRR index was calculated from the absolute difference between HRex and HRR. A significant increase was observed for WBQ (effect of time; p<0.001; ηp2=0.417) with no effect for condition or interaction. A decrease in HRR (p = 0.014; ηp2=0.241), and an increase in HRR index were observed (p = 0.045; ηp2=0.168), with no effect for condition or interaction. No change for HRex was evident (p>0.05). These results suggest that a-tDCS over the DLPFC may have a positive effect on enhancing well-being and parasympathetic autonomic markers, which opens up a possibility for testing tDCS as a promising recovery-enhancing strategy targeting the brain in soccer players. The findings suggest that brain areas related to emotional and autonomic control might be involved in these changes with a possible interaction effect of tDCS by placebo-related effects, but more research is needed to verify this effect.