tion therapies in ASD have employed Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation TMS of

Tion therapies in asd have employed transcranial

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tion therapies in ASD have employed Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). In TMS, current pulses are induced into the brain by a coil held over the scalp. Positive results of TMS include decreased levels of irritability (Baruth et al. 2010 ; Casanova et al. 2012 ; Sokhadze et al. 2014a , 2016 ; Wang et al. 2016 ), hyperactivity (D’Urso et al. 2015 ; Sokhadze et al. 2014b , 2016 ; Wang et al. 2016 ), and repetitive behaviors (Baruth et al. 2010 ; Sokhadze et al. 2014b , 2016 ; Wang et al. 2016 ). Other findings also demonstrate increased cardiac vagal control (Wang et al. 2016 ), increased syntax acquisition (Schneider and Hopp 2011 ), minimized responses to irrel- evant stimuli (Sokhadze et al. 2010 ), and improved visual discrimination ability (Baruth et al. 2010 ). While these stud- ies indicate that TMS has emerged as a novel tool for the potential treatment of ASD, it is important to note that the findings should be balanced against specific concerns related to ASD, such as developing safety protocols across levels of functioning and age and the need for more large-scale experimental studies to be completed (Oberman et al. 2016 ). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non- invasive method of modulating neuronal activity. In tDCS, a weak electrical current is passed into the brain through one or more electrodes placed on the scalp (Nitsche and Paulus 2000 ). Previous research has demonstrated tDCS- induced improvements in a variety of cognitive domains for both healthy adults and for those with clinical disor- ders (Coffman et al. 2012 ; Dayan et al. 2013 ; Manenti et al. 2012 ). Of particular relevance to the current study, tDCS has increased performance in healthy individuals on skills that are employed during social functioning, such as facial emotion recognition (Boggio et al. 2008 ) and orienting attention to continually changing and sometimes conflict- ing information (Stone and Tesche 2009 ). While TMS has resulted in improvements after stimulation over DLPFC in social relatedness, no improvements were found on tasks of empathy or ToM, such as perspective taking (Enticott et al. 2014 ). In contrast, tDCS over DLPFC in ASD with findings specific to social cognition or social skills are limited, the few available studies have reported improvements for broad social domains (Amatachaya et al. 2014 , 2015 ) and social withdrawal (D’Urso et al. 2014 , 2015 ) after tDCS stimula- tion over the DLPFC. While DLPFC has been a popular stimulation target, both the DLPFC and the right temporoparietal junction (rTPJ) play a role in a broad, neural network for social cognition (Kennedy and Adolphs 2012 ; Krall et al. 2016 ). Functional neuroimaging studies show that the rTPJ plays an important role in social cognitive processes necessary for empathy and ToM (Decety and Lamm 2007 ). Further, functional neuroim- aging has demonstrated that the rTPJ is specifically associ- ated with ToM deficits in individuals with ASD (Lombardo et al. 2011 ). Anodal tDCS applied over the rTPJ in healthy individuals shows improved social functioning through tasks for perspective taking and evaluation of self against oth- ers (Santiesteban et al. 2012
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