WP5: Phase-IIa randomized, double blind, Sham-controlled, parallel group trial on anodal tDCS over left and right temporo-parietal junction in Autism Spectrum Disorder (Sti-mAT)
Work package 5 is led by Prof. Dr. med. Dipl. - Theol. Christine M. Freitag, Director of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy of the GU.
The objectives of this work package are:
- To investigate whether the combined application of transcranial current stimulation (tDCS) and cognitive training can improve symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
- To quantify changes induced by the intervention with regard to social cognitive abilities and neural processing patterns
In our study we aim to establish a novel treatment that combines a cognitive training battery with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). This method entails the application of a very weak electrical current to the head, in order to improve function of specific brain areas, which are affected in ASD. This technique can help to enhance learning effects of the training tasks and may also improve social skills and help alleviate symptoms in children and adolescents with ASD. To investigate changes induced by this intervention we will carefully assess autistic behaviour, social cognitive abilities and brain activity before and after the intervention.
We hope that we can establish tDCS as a novel alternative treatment method that can improve ASD symptoms.
To achieve this, we have set ourselves the following tasks:
- Apply tDCS in combination with a cognitive training task in a group of children and adolescents with ASD
- Establish effects of the combined tDCS and cognitive training intervention on ASD and other behavioural symptoms
- Evaluate changes in social cognitive and basic cognitive abilities as well as brain activity induced by the intervention