Modulating risky decision-making in Parkinson's disease by transcranial direct current stimulation

A. Benussi, A. Alberici, V. Cantoni, R. Manenti, M. Brambilla, V. Dell'Era, S. Gazzina, M. Manes, V. Cristillo, A. Padovani, M. Cotelli, B. Borroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose: Performance on gambling tasks in Parkinson's disease (PD) is of particular interest, as pathological gambling is often associated with dopamine replacement therapy in these patients. We aimed to evaluate the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) in modulating gambling behaviour in PD. Methods: We assessed the effects of cathodal tDCS over the right DLPFC during the Iowa Gambling Task in 20 patients with PD, compared with sham stimulation. We then conducted a second experimental design, assessing the effects of anodal tDCS over the right DLPFC. Results: We observed that cathodal tDCS over the right DLPFC increased Iowa Gambling Task scores compared with sham stimulation. In the second experimental design, we did not find significant differences between anodal and sham tDCS. Conclusions: Cathodal tDCS over the right DLPFC possibly reduces the pathological overdrive in frontostriatal networks in patients with PD on dopaminergic medication, thus modulating impulsive and risky decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-754
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017


  • dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Parkinson's disease
  • pathological gambling
  • transcranial direct current stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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