Beta-frequency EEG activity increased during transcranial direct current stimulation

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Abstract

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a technique for noninvasively stimulating specific cortical regions of the brain with small (<2 mA) and constant direct current on the scalp. tDCS has been widely applied, not only for medical treatment, but also for cognitive and somatosensory function enhancement, motor learning improvement, and social behavioral change. However, the mechanism that underlies the effect of tDCS is unclear. In this study, we performed simultaneous electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring during tDCS to understand the dynamic electrophysiological changes throughout the stimulation. A total of 10 healthy individuals participated in this experiment. We recorded EEGs with direct current stimulation, as well as during a 5-min resting state before and after the stimulation. All participants kept their eyes closed during the experiment. Anode and cathode patches of tDCS were placed on the left and the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, respectively. In addition, an EEG electrode was placed on the medial prefrontal cortex. The beta-frequency power increased promptly after starting the stimulation. The significant beta-power increase was maintained during the stimulation. Other frequency bands did not show any significant changes. The results indicate that tDCS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex changed the brain to a ready state for efficient cognitive functioning by increasing the beta-frequency power. This is the first attempt to simultaneously stimulate the cortex and record the EEG and then systematically analyze the prestimulation, during-stimulation, and poststimulation EEG data.

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