Individual Cerebral Blood Flow Responses to Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation at Various Intensities
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been shown to alter cortical excitability. However, it is increasingly accepted that tDCS has high inter- and intra-subject response variability, which currently limits broad application and has prompted some to doubt if the current can reach the brain. This study reports individual cerebral blood flow responses in people with multiple sclerosis and neurologically healthy subjects that experienced 5 min of anodal tDCS at 1 mA, 2 mA, 3 mA, and 4
... , 2 mA, 3 mA, and 4 mA over either the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) or the primary motor cortex (M1). The most notable results indicated anticipated changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in two regions of one DLPFC subject (2 mA condition), and expected changes in one M1 subject in the 2 mA and 4 mA conditions and in another M1 subject in the 2 mA condition. There were also changes contrary to the expected direction in one DLPFC subject and in two M1 subjects. These data suggest the effects of tDCS might be site-specific and highlight the high variability and individualized responses increasingly reported in tDCS literature. Future studies should use longer stimulation durations and image at various time points after stimulation cessation when exploring the effects of tDCS on cerebral blood flow (CBF).