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Amirkabir University of Technology Researchers Investigate the Effects of tDCS on Amphetamine Addiction

 | Post date: 2023/09/9 | 
Researchers from Amirkabir University of Technology have conducted a project that analyzes the relationship between the spatial distribution of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in the brain and changes in functional connections observed through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in individuals addicted to amphetamines. The aim of the study was to assess the level of craving experienced by individuals addicted to this stimulant.
According to the university's public relations report, Ghazaleh Soleimani, a graduate of Amirkabir University of Technology and the project manager of "Analysis of the Relationship between the Spatial Distribution of tDCS Current in the Brain and Changes in Functional Communication Based on fMRI in Amphetamine-Dependent Individuals," stated that amphetamines, including methamphetamine (commonly known as "glass"), are the second most widely used stimulants globally, and the mortality rate associated with their use is increasing.
Soleimani further explained that cognitive neuroscience and non-invasive brain stimulation methods have garnered attention as potential approaches for addiction treatment. However, there is still a lack of precise understanding regarding the mechanisms underlying the effects of these interventions on addiction.
The research conducted in this project involved the application of tDCS, a form of direct current electrical stimulation, on a group of individuals addicted to methamphetamine. The study demonstrated that these interventions, through the targeted distribution of electrical current in the brain, could enhance brain functions and influence behavioral outcomes, such as reducing craving and altering symptoms associated with stimulant use.
The research employed engineering tools such as modeling and analysis of structural and functional magnetic resonance data, including structural MRI (sMRI) and fMRI images. These tools were used to determine the mechanisms through which tDCS affects individuals with methamphetamine dependency and their response to drug-related symptoms. The study involved a dataset consisting of 60 methamphetamine-addicted individuals divided into two separate groups. Each group received 20 minutes of tDCS, either in the form of real stimulation or simulated stimulation. Structural and functional MRI images were acquired before and after the stimulation sessions.
The project was guided by Dr. Farzad Tohidkhah, Dr. Mehrdad Saviz, and Dr. Abbas Nasiraei Moghadam, who are members of the academic staff at Amirkabir University of Technology, along with Dr. Hamed Otaki, a member of the academic staff at the LIBR Institute of America.