Is transcranial alternating current stimulation effective in modulating brain oscillations?

Brignani, D., Ruzzoli, M. and Miniussi, C. (2013) Is transcranial alternating current stimulation effective in modulating brain oscillations? PLoS ONE, 8(2), e56589. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056589) (PMID:23457586) (PMCID:PMC3573000)

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Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) is a promising tool for modulating brain oscillations, as well as a possible therapeutic intervention. However, the lack of conclusive evidence on whether tACS is able to effectively affect cortical activity continues to limit its application. The present study aims to address this issue by exploiting the well-known inhibitory alpha rhythm in the posterior parietal cortex during visual perception and attention orientation. Four groups of healthy volunteers were tested with a Gabor patch detection and discrimination task. All participants were tested at the baseline and selective frequencies of tACS, including Sham, 6 Hz, 10 Hz, and 25 Hz. Stimulation at 6 Hz and 10 Hz over the occipito-parietal area impaired performance in the detection task compared to the baseline. The lack of a retinotopically organised effect and marginal frequency-specificity modulation in the detection task force us to be cautious about the effectiveness of tACS in modulating brain oscillations. Therefore, the present study does not provide significant evidence for tACS reliably inducing direct modulations of brain oscillations that can influence performance in a visual task.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The research was supported by a Project grant from Associazione Fatebenefratelli per la Ricerca (AFaR). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ruzzoli, Dr Manuela
Authors: Brignani, D., Ruzzoli, M., and Miniussi, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 8(2):e56589
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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