Division of Sport Science & Sport Science Institute, Incheon National University, Incheon, South Korea; Neuromechanical Rehabilitation Research Laboratory, Incheon National University, Incheon, South Korea. Electronic address: [Email]
The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to investigate the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on symptoms of nicotine dependence in treatment-seeking smokers. Twelve studies qualified for this meta-analysis, and we used 15 total comparisons from the included studies for the data synthesis. Primary outcome measures were changes in (a) cue-provoked craving and (b) smoking intake (i.e., the number of cigarettes smoked) between active tDCS stimulation and sham control groups. Random-effects model meta-analyses revealed significant positive effects of tDCS on seven cue-provoked craving comparisons (effect size = 0.422; P = .004) and eight smoking intake comparisons (effect size = 0.557; P = .004). Moderator variable analyses indicated that applying anodal-tDCS on the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) revealed significant positive effects on the cue-provoked craving with minimal heterogeneity. Further, applying cathodal-tDCS on DLPFC regions showed more positive effects on both cue-provoked craving and smoking intake than cathodal-tDCS on other brain regions. These findings suggested that tDCS modulating DLPFC activity can be an effective option for decreasing individual's smoking dependence symptoms.