Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on Go/NoGo Performance Using Food and Non-Food Stimuli in Patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome


Poje AB, Manzardo A, Gustafson KM, Liao K, Martin LE, Butler MG

Scientific Notation:

Brain Sci. 2021 Feb 17;11(2):250. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11020250. PMID: 33671295; PMCID: PMC7922059.

Publication Link:



Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder characterized by multiple system involvement with hypotonia, poor suck with feeding difficulties, growth and other hormone deficiencies, intellectual disability, and behavioral problems with childhood onset of hyperphagia resulting in obesity, if not externally controlled. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been increasingly shown to modulate cognitive and behavioral processes in children and adults, including food-intake behaviors in patients with PWS. This study further reports the positive effects of brief tDCS sessions on Go/NoGo task performance involving food and non-food stimuli images, alterations in N2 brain amplitude, and genetic subgroup differences (maternal disomy 15, UPD; 15q11-q13 deletion, DEL) before and after tDCS as assessed by event-related potentials (ERPs) in 10 adults with PWS. The results indicate a group effect on baseline NoGo N2 amplitude in PWS patients with DEL vs UPD (p =0.046) and a decrease in NoGo N2 amplitude following tDCS (p = 0.031). Our tDCS approach also demonstrated a trend towards decreased response time. Collectively, these results replicate and expand prior work highlighting neurophysiological differences in patients with PWS according to genetic subtype and demonstrate the feasibility in examining neuromodulatory effects of tDCS on information processing in this patient population to stimulate additional research and treatment.

FPWR Grant:

Transcranial direct current stimulation, startle modulation and event-related potential of the brain to evaluate hyperphagia in PWS