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Nat Commun. 2017 Oct 31;8(1):1199. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01045-x.

Low frequency transcranial electrical stimulation does not entrain sleep rhythms measured by human intracranial recordings.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, City College of New York, 160 Convent Ave, New York, NY, 10031, USA.
2
New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, 223 East 34th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA.
3
Department of Neurology, New York University School of Medicine, 240 East 38th St, 20th Floor, New York, NY, 10016, USA.
4
Department of Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Gruneburgweg 14, 60322, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
5
Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, St. George's University, St. George's, Grenada.
6
Department of Neurosurgery NYU School of Medicine, 530 1st Avenue, Suite 7W, New York, NY, 10016, USA.
7
New York University Neuroscience Institute, 450 East 29th St, New York, NY, 10016, USA.
8
New York University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, 223 East 34th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA. anli.liu@nyumc.org.
9
Department of Neurology, New York University School of Medicine, 240 East 38th St, 20th Floor, New York, NY, 10016, USA. anli.liu@nyumc.org.

Abstract

Transcranial electrical stimulation has widespread clinical and research applications, yet its effect on ongoing neural activity in humans is not well established. Previous reports argue that transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) can entrain and enhance neural rhythms related to memory, but the evidence from non-invasive recordings has remained inconclusive. Here, we measure endogenous spindle and theta activity intracranially in humans during low-frequency tACS and find no stable entrainment of spindle power during non-REM sleep, nor of theta power during resting wakefulness. As positive controls, we find robust entrainment of spindle activity to endogenous slow-wave activity in 66% of electrodes as well as entrainment to rhythmic noise-burst acoustic stimulation in 14% of electrodes. We conclude that low-frequency tACS at common stimulation intensities neither acutely modulates spindle activity during sleep nor theta activity during waking rest, likely because of the attenuated electrical fields reaching the cortical surface.

PMID:
29084960
PMCID:
PMC5662600
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-017-01045-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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