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Curr Biol. 2014 Feb 3;24(3):333-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.041. Epub 2014 Jan 23.

Entrainment of brain oscillations by transcranial alternating current stimulation.

Author information

1
Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20246 Hamburg, Germany. Electronic address: r.helfrich@uke.de.
2
Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.
3
Experimental Psychology Lab, Center for Excellence "Hearing4all," European Medical School, University of Oldenburg, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany; Research Center Neurosensory Science, University of Oldenburg, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany.

Abstract

Novel methods for neuronal entrainment [1-4] provide the unique opportunity to modulate perceptually relevant brain oscillations [5, 6] in a frequency-specific manner and to study their functional impact on distinct cognitive functions. Recently, evidence has emerged that tACS (transcranial alternating current stimulation) can modulate cortical oscillations [7-9]. However, the study of electrophysiological effects has been hampered so far by the absence of concurrent electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings. Here, we applied 10 Hz tACS to the parieto-occipital cortex and utilized simultaneous EEG recordings to study neuronal entrainment during stimulation. We pioneer a novel approach for simultaneous tACS-EEG recordings and successfully separate stimulation artifacts from ongoing and event-related cortical activity. Our results reveal that 10 Hz tACS increases parieto-occipital alpha activity and synchronizes cortical oscillators with similar intrinsic frequencies to the entrainment frequency. Additionally, we demonstrate that tACS modulates target detection performance in a phase-dependent fashion highlighting the causal role of alpha oscillations for visual perception.

PMID:
24461998
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2013.12.041
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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