The Impact of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Combined with Interim Testing on Spatial Route Learning in Patients with Schizophrenia

Published: 2 April 2024| Version 3 | DOI: 10.17632/t5rkpjxvzv.3
Tiantian Li,


Background: Cognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia have drawn widespread attention. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can modulate cognitive processes by increasing or decreasing the excitability of neurons. Previous studies have found that midterm testing can enhance spatial route learning and memory in patients with schizophrenia. However, there has been limited research on the combined effects of these two methods on spatial route learning in patients with schizophrenia. Objective: To conduct route learning using interim testing after anodal tDCS treatment on the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (L-DLPFC) in patients with schizophrenia. The aim was to investigate whether the combination of tDCS and interim testing could effectively contribute to the maintenance of spatial route memory in patients with schizophrenia. Methods: Ninety-two patients with schizophrenia were recruited and divided into anodal, sham, or non-stimulation groups. The anodal group received L-DLPFC tDCS treatment 10 times over 5 days (twice daily for 20 minutes). After treatment, interim testing assessed spatial route learning. Correct recall rates of landmark positions and proactive interference from prior learning were compared among the groups. Results: Irrespective of stimulation type, the interim testing group outperformed the restudy group. Additionally, recall scores were higher following anodal stimulation, indicating tDCS efficacy. Conclusions: Combining tDCS with interim testing produced additive effects, with anodal stimulation significantly enhancing memory compared to sham and no stimulation. This highlights the substantial memory improvement in patients with schizophrenia through tDCS targeting the L-DLPFC.