Facilitated event-related power-modulations during transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) revealed by concurrent tACS-MEG [article]

Florian H. Kasten, Burkhard Maess, Christoph S. Herrmann
2018 bioRxiv   pre-print
Non-invasive approaches to modulate oscillatory activity in the brain receive growing popularity in the scientific community. Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) has been shown to modulate neural oscillations in a frequency specific manner. Due to a massive stimulation artifact at the targeted frequency, only little is known about effects of tACS during stimulation. I.e. it remains unclear how the continuous application of tACS affects event-related oscillations during cognitive
more » ... tasks. Depending on whether tACS merely affects pre- or post-stimulus oscillations or both, stimulation can alter patterns of event-related oscillatory dynamics in various directions or may not affect them at all. Thus, knowledge about these directions is crucial to plan, predict and understand outcomes of solely behavioral tACS experiments. Here, a recently proposed procedure to suppress tACS artifacts by projecting MEG data into source space using spatial filtering was utilized to recover event-related power modulations in the alpha band during a mental rotation task. MEG of twenty-five volunteers was continuously recorded. After 10 minutes of baseline measurement, they received either 20 minutes of tACS at individual alpha frequency or sham stimulation. Another 40 minutes of MEG were acquired thereafter. Data were projected into source space and carefully examined for residual artifacts. Results revealed strong facilitation of event-related power modulations in the alpha band during tACS application. Data provide first direct evidence, that tACS does not counteract top-down suppression of intrinsic oscillations, but rather enhances pre-existent power modulations within the range of the individual alpha (=stimulation) frequency.
doi:10.1101/249409 fatcat:doif6ovrjvanbmsua5izttq7py