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Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) non-invasively induces polarity-dependent excitability alterations in the human motor cortex lasting for more than an hour after stimulation. Clinical applications with encouraging results have been reported in several pilot studies, but the optimal stimulation protocols remain to be determined. This is also important because the efficacy and directionality of tDCS effects follow non-linear rules regarding neuroplastic effects for the stimulation parameters duration and intensity. In this study, we systemically explored the association between tDCS, these parameters and induced after-effects on motor cortex excitability. Cathodal tDCS was applied in four different intensities (sham, 1, 2 and 3 mA) and three durations (15, 20 and 30 mins) in 16 young healthy subjects and the after-effects were monitored with TMS-induced motor evoked potentials (MEP) until the next day evening after stimulation. The results of the repeated measures ANOVA conducted to disentangle the effects of tDCS intensity and duration show a main effect of intensity in which 1 mA and 3 mA stimulation induced a reduction of MEP amplitudes, but 2 mA resulted in excitability enhancement. The results of a secondary ANOVA conducted to compare if active stimulation effects differ from those of sham stimulation revealed a significant main effect of tDCS condition in which 1 mA-15 min, 1 mA-30 min and 3 mA-20 min cathodal tDCS induced LTD-like plasticity, while LTP-like plasticity was observed after 2 mA-20 min stimulation. Our study thus provides further insights on the dependency of tDCS -induced neuroplasticity from the stimulation parameters, and therefore delivers crucial information for future applications.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior
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A technique of brain electric stimulation therapy which uses constant, low current delivered via ELECTRODES placed on various locations on the scalp.
The electrical response evoked in a muscle or motor nerve by electrical or magnetic stimulation. Common methods of stimulation are by transcranial electrical and TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION. It is often used for monitoring during neurosurgery.
Application of electric current in treatment without the generation of perceptible heat. It includes electric stimulation of nerves or muscles, passage of current into the body, or use of interrupted current of low intensity to raise the threshold of the skin to pain.
Measurable changes in activities in the CEREBRAL CORTEX upon a stimulation. A change in cortical excitability as measured by various techniques (e.g., TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION) is associated with brain disorders.
Removal of tissue with electrical current delivered via electrodes positioned at the distal end of a catheter. Energy sources are commonly direct current (DC-shock) or alternating current at radiofrequencies (usually 750 kHz). The technique is used most often to ablate the AV junction and/or accessory pathways in order to interrupt AV conduction and produce AV block in the treatment of various tachyarrhythmias.