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The investigators are interested in investigating whether transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS0 over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) can alter behaviour and neural activity in subclinical depression. tDCS is a neuromodulation technique that uses weak electrical current to increase (anodal stimulation) or decrease (cathodal stimulation) the probability of brain activity in the stimulated region. A growing body of evidence indicates that repeated administration of prefrontal tDCS can ameliorate symptoms of depression. A main characteristic of depression is that patients show a bias towards processing negative relative to positive information. Previously, we have demonstrated that a single session of prefrontal tDCS was associated with an increased learning rate for positive information in healthy adults. Here, the researchers will examine whether similar behavioural effects are found in individuals with subclinical depression when applying prefrontal tDCS. In addition, investigators will use neuroimaging measures to investigate how tDCS affects neural activity during a reward-learning task. The findings of the study will contribute to the understanding of the cognitive and neural effects of prefrontal tDCS in subclinical depression. It is predicted that tDCS will increase learning rates for positive information by altering activity in the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex. The ultimate aim, to be explored through further studies, is to understand and improve how tDCS might be used in the treatment of depressive disorders.
This study aims to improve understanding of how people with low mood and negative feelings (known as dysphoric) may be different from people with normal mood and feelings (nondysphoric) when responding to a variety of social and emotional information. The study will look at the patterns of activity in peoples' brains in situations (presented as a battery of tests) after treatment with a medicine (escitalopram) or a placebo. The results from this study will help to gather information about the effectiveness of the various tests being used in this study in detecting any changes due to treatment with an antidepressant. Half the volunteers taking part in this study will be dysphoric (mildly depressed) whilst the other half of volunteers will be healthy volunteers. It is hoped that the results of this study will provide guidance for assessing effectiveness of new medicines and potentially help with the treatment of depression.