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      Lasting EEG/MEG Aftereffects of Rhythmic Transcranial Brain Stimulation: Level of Control Over Oscillatory Network Activity

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          A number of rhythmic protocols have emerged for non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) in humans, including transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), oscillatory transcranial direct current stimulation (otDCS), and repetitive (also called rhythmic) transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). With these techniques, it is possible to match the frequency of the externally applied electromagnetic fields to the intrinsic frequency of oscillatory neural population activity (“frequency-tuning”). Mounting evidence suggests that by this means tACS, otDCS, and rTMS can entrain brain oscillations and promote associated functions in a frequency-specific manner, in particular during (i.e., online to) stimulation. Here, we focus instead on the changes in oscillatory brain activity that persist after the end of stimulation. Understanding such aftereffects in healthy participants is an important step for developing these techniques into potentially useful clinical tools for the treatment of specific patient groups. Reviewing the electrophysiological evidence in healthy participants, we find aftereffects on brain oscillations to be a common outcome following tACS/otDCS and rTMS. However, we did not find a consistent, predictable pattern of aftereffects across studies, which is in contrast to the relative homogeneity of reported online effects. This indicates that aftereffects are partially dissociated from online, frequency-specific (entrainment) effects during tACS/otDCS and rTMS. We outline possible accounts and future directions for a better understanding of the link between online entrainment and offline aftereffects, which will be key for developing more targeted interventions into oscillatory brain activity.

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          Most cited references 123

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          A mechanism for cognitive dynamics: neuronal communication through neuronal coherence.

           Pascal Fries (2005)
          At any one moment, many neuronal groups in our brain are active. Microelectrode recordings have characterized the activation of single neurons and fMRI has unveiled brain-wide activation patterns. Now it is time to understand how the many active neuronal groups interact with each other and how their communication is flexibly modulated to bring about our cognitive dynamics. I hypothesize that neuronal communication is mechanistically subserved by neuronal coherence. Activated neuronal groups oscillate and thereby undergo rhythmic excitability fluctuations that produce temporal windows for communication. Only coherently oscillating neuronal groups can interact effectively, because their communication windows for input and for output are open at the same times. Thus, a flexible pattern of coherence defines a flexible communication structure, which subserves our cognitive flexibility.
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            Transcranial direct current stimulation: State of the art 2008.

            Effects of weak electrical currents on brain and neuronal function were first described decades ago. Recently, DC polarization of the brain was reintroduced as a noninvasive technique to alter cortical activity in humans. Beyond this, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of different cortical areas has been shown, in various studies, to result in modifications of perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral functions. Moreover, preliminary data suggest that it can induce beneficial effects in brain disorders. Brain stimulation with weak direct currents is a promising tool in human neuroscience and neurobehavioral research. To facilitate and standardize future tDCS studies, we offer this overview of the state of the art for tDCS.
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              High gamma power is phase-locked to theta oscillations in human neocortex.

              We observed robust coupling between the high- and low-frequency bands of ongoing electrical activity in the human brain. In particular, the phase of the low-frequency theta (4 to 8 hertz) rhythm modulates power in the high gamma (80 to 150 hertz) band of the electrocorticogram, with stronger modulation occurring at higher theta amplitudes. Furthermore, different behavioral tasks evoke distinct patterns of theta/high gamma coupling across the cortex. The results indicate that transient coupling between low- and high-frequency brain rhythms coordinates activity in distributed cortical areas, providing a mechanism for effective communication during cognitive processing in humans.

                Author and article information

                Front Cell Neurosci
                Front Cell Neurosci
                Front. Cell. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                15 December 2015
                : 9
                1Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow Glasgow, UK
                2School of Psychology, University of Glasgow Glasgow, UK
                Author notes

                Edited by: Surjo R. Soekadar, University Hospital Tübingen, Germany

                Reviewed by: Michael A. Nitsche, Georg-August-University, Germany; Walter Paulus, University of Goettingen, Germany; Romain Quentin, Inserm/Université Paris 6, France

                *Correspondence: Domenica Veniero domenica.veniero@ ;

                †These authors have contributed equally to this work.

                Copyright © 2015 Veniero, Vossen, Gross and Thut.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 124, Pages: 17, Words: 13791
                Funded by: Wellcome Trust 10.13039/100004440
                Award ID: 098434
                Award ID: 098433
                Funded by: University of Glasgow 10.13039/501100000853


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