Comparing the Effectiveness of the Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (TACS) and Ritalin on Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in 7-14-Year-Old Children


Several studies have been conducted on the effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on adult patients. But, in recent years, only a few studies have been carried out in children and teenagers because the aim of the present study was to compare the effectiveness of TACS and Ritalin in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. This interventional clinical trial study was performed on 62 children with ADHD who were referred to the private psychiatric clinic of children in Tehran. The children were randomly assigned to two coded groups based on a lottery so that they were enrolled in the TACS or the Ritalin group. A questionnaire child syndrome inventory (parental form) and integrated visual and auditory (IVA) test with a pretest and posttest design was used in this study. TACS therapy protocol was employed (3 days a week for eight weeks using alternating current stimulation at 10 Hz over two points on the prefrontal cortex: the anode centered over F3 [the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex] and the cathode over F4[the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex]). Results showed that the posttest scores of the TACS-treated group were higher than those of the Ritalin-treated group, and there was a significant difference between the areas of visual attention (visual vigilance, visual focus, Sustained attention visual) and response control visual and auditory prudence (P<0.05). Results indicated that TACS was more effective and more durable compared to Ritalin in reducing attention deficit, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.


Noori A., Janatian, S., Shafti, A., Molavi, H. &Samavatian, H,The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Based Treatment Game on the Severity of Hyperactivity Disorder / Attention Deficit Symptoms in 9-11 Year Old Children with ADHD. Journal of Research in Behavioral Sciences. 2008; 2( 2): 119-109.
Farrokhzadi, F, Mohammadi, M, Alipour, A, Madhaji, M., and Salmanian, M. Mental Health of Parents of Children with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder with Parents of Healthy Children. Iranian Journal of Exceptional Children. 1394;.15(13): 43 -56.
Li S,Yu, B.,Lin.Z,.Jiang ,S.,He, J.,Kang, L.,Li ,W.,Chen, X.,&Wang ,X. Randomized-controlled study of treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder of preschool children with combined electro- acupuncture and behavior therapy. Complement Ther Med. 2010; 18(5):175-83. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2010.08.002. Epub 2010 Aug 30.
Hong SS, Cho SH, Treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with acupuncture: A randomized controlled trial RSS Download PDF. European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2016; 8( 3): 150-157.
Efron, D., Jarman, F., &Barker ,M, Methylphenidate versus dexamphetamine in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A double-blind, crossover trial. .Pediatrics. 1997; 100:E6.
Hong SS, Cho SH, Acupuncture for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. 2011; 11 :12-173. doi: 0.1186/1745-6215-12-173.
Bussing R, Zima BT, Gary FA, Garvan CW,Use of complementary and alternative medicine for symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder,.Psychiatr Serv. 2000; 53:-1096 1102. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text .
Luman M, Tripp G, Scheres, AIdentifying the neurobiology of altered reinforcement sensitivity in ADHD: A review and research agenda. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Review. 20103;4(5): 744-754.
Goldstin, S, Naglieri J A, The school Neuropsychology of ADHD: theory, assessment and intervention. Psychology in the school. 2008; 45(9): 859-874.
Depue B, E Burgess G C, Willcutt E G, Ruzic L, Banich M T, Inhibitory control of memory retrieval and motor processing associated with the right lateral prefrontal cortex: Evidence from deficits in individuals with ADHD. Neuropsychologia. 2010; 48(13): 3909-3917.
Brunoni A, Ferrucci R, Bortolomasi M, Vergari M, Tadini, L, Boggio P, et al,Transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) in unipolar vs. bipolar depressive disorder. Progress in Neuro- Psychopharmacol Biolo Psychiatr. 2011;65(1):63-101
Dasilva A F, Volz,M. S, Bikson M, Fregni F,Electrode Positioning and Montage in Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. RACGP Online. . (2011). Available at: URL: Accessed Mar 15, 2013.
Utz K. s, Dimova V, Oppenlander K., Kerkhoff GElectrified minds: Transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) and Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS) as methods of non-invasive brain stimulation in neuropsychology- A review of current data and future implications. Neuropsychologia. (2010) ; 48(10): 2789- 2810.
Andrade A.C, Magnavita G.M, Allegro J.V, Neto CE, Lucena ,RDS, Fregni F,Feasibility of transcranial direct current stimulation use in children aged 5 to 12 years. Journal of child neurology. 2014; Oct 1;29(10):1360-5.
Rubio-Morell B, Rotenberg A., Hernandez-Exposito ,S, Pascual-Leone Á, [The use of noninvasive brain stimulation in childhood psychiatric disorders: new diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities and challenges]. Revista de neurologia. 2011 ; 53(4):209-25.
Bandeira I. D, Guimaraes R S Q, Jagersbacher J G, Barretto, T L , de Jesus-Silva J R, Santos S N, Argollo N, Lucena R, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Children and Adolescents With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Pilot Study.Journal of Child Neurology. 2016; 1-7.
Krishnan C., Peterson MD, Santos L, Ehinger M,Safety of noninvasive brain stimulation in children and adolescents. Brain Stimul. 2015; Jan-Feb;8(1):76-87. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2014.10.012. Epub 2014 Oct 28.
Cachoeira CT, Leffa DT, Mittelstadt SD, Mendes LS, Brunoni AR, Pinto JV, Blazius V, Machado V, Dotto Bau, CH, Rohde LA, Grevet EH, Schestatsky,P,Positive effects of transcranial direct current stimulation in adult patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder – a pilot randomized controlled study. Psychiatry Res . 2017; Jan;247:28-32. doi: 0.1016/j.psychres.2016.11.009. Epub 2016 Nov 10Psychiatry Research 2017.
Zaghi,S, de Freitas Rezende., Machado de Oliveira,L, El-Nazer,R, Menning,S, Tadini,L, Fregni.F,Inhibition of motor cortex excitability with 15 Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (TACS). Neuroscience Letters. 2010; 479 , 211–214.
Klimke Nitsche.M.A, Maurer.K., Voss.U,Case Report: Successful Treatment of Therapy-Resistant OCD With Application of Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (TACS). Brain Stimulation.2016; 9( 3): 463–465.
Tavakkolizadeh J, Bolhari J, Mehryar AH, Dezhkam M.[Epidemiology of attention deficit and disruptive behavior disorders in elementary school children of Gonabad town, north east iran (1996-1997)]. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology. 1997; 3(1 and 2): 40-52. [Article in Persian]
Azami S, Moghaddas A, Ezrabi, F,Comparison of the Effectiveness of Cognitive Rehabilitation of Computer-Aided Drug with Stimulating Drug on Improving Response Inhibition Function and Sustained Attention of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Special Personnel Schedule. 1392; 3 (11):. 39-21.
Sandford JA., Fine A H, Goldman L, A comparison of auditory and visual processing in children with ADHD using the IVA Continuous Performance Test. . In Proceedings from the 1995 annual convention of Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, CHADD.
. Turner DC, Clark L, Dowson J ,Robbins TW, Sahakian, BJ,Modafinil improvescognition and response inhibition in adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. BiolPsychiatry. 2004;55:1031–1040. [PubMed:15121488].
Hamidi SH, [The effectiveness of neurofeedback training on EEG among children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder].Master Thesis. University ofTehran. 2011. [Persian]
Sadati Firoozabadi S, [Effectiveness ofmovement therapy on the linicalsyndrome, executive functions and welfareof students with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder And comparison with neurofeedback treatment]. Master Thesis. University of Tehran. 2011. [Persian]

Sotnikova A , Soff.C. , Christiansen,H, Becker K., Siniatchkin M,Transcranial direct current stimulation improves clinical symptoms in adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. J Neural Transm. 2016. DOI 10.1007/s00702-016-1646-y

Vaidya CJ, Austin G, Kirkorian G, Ridlehuber HW, Desmond, JE, Glover GH, et al,Selective effects of methylphenidate in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a functional magnetic resonance study. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1998;95(24): 14494-9.
Soltani Nejad, Zahra, Nejati, Vahid and Optional, Hamed. (1393). Effect of direct electrical stimulation of the right lower limb of the brain on the improvement of inhibition in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Rehabilitation Sciences. The third period 4.vol3.p1-9.
Gubillo A, Halari R, Ecker C, Giampietro V, Taylor E, Rubia K, Reduced activation and inter-regional functional connectivity of fronto-striatal networks in adults with childhood Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and persisting symptoms during tasks of motor inhibition and cognitive switching. Journal of Psychiatric Research .2010; 44(10): 629-639.
Cosmo C, Baptista AF, de Araújo AN, do Rosário RS, Miranda JG, Montoya P, de Sena ,EP,A Randomized, Double-Blind, Sham-Controlled Trial of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. PLoS One, 2015; 12;10(8):e0135371. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135371. eCollection 2015.
Jacobson L, Ditye T, Wal sh V, Lavidor, MModulating behavioral inhibition by TDCS combined with cognitive training. Exp Brain Res. 2012 ;219(3): 363-368.
Breitling C, Zaehle T, Dannhauer M, Bonath B, Tegelbeckers J, Flechtner H.H, Krauel K, Improving Interference Control in ADHD Patients with Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS). Front. Cell. Neurosci. . 2016 ; 10:72. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2016.00072
Biederman J, Milberger S, Faraone SV, Chu MP, Wilens T Familial risk analysis of the association between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and psychoactive substance use disorders. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998 Oct; 152(10):945-51.
Farokhzadi F, Mohammadi MR, Salmanian , Discriminant of validity the Wender Utah rating scale in Iranian adults. Acta Med Iran. 2014; 52(5): 360-69.
Nejati V, shiri E,Neurocognitive evidence for deficit in inhibitory control and risky decision making in smokers. Journal of Research in Behavioural Sciences. 2013; 11(1): 1-9 [In Persian].
IssueVol 58, No 12 (2020) QRcode
Attention deficit-hyperactive disorder Transcranial alternating current stimulation (TACS) Ritalin

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Farokhzadi F, Mohamadi MR, Khajevand Khosli A, Akbarfahimi M, Ali Beigi N, Torabi P. Comparing the Effectiveness of the Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (TACS) and Ritalin on Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in 7-14-Year-Old Children. Acta Med Iran. 2021;58(12):637-648.