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Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 19;9(1):2273. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-38630-7.

tDCS-induced episodic memory enhancement and its association with functional network coupling in older adults.

Author information

1
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Department of Neurology, NeuroCure Clinical Research Center, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Germany. daria.antonenko@uni-greifswald.de.
2
Department of Neurology, Universitätsmedizin Greifswald, Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Straße, Greifswald, Germany. daria.antonenko@uni-greifswald.de.
3
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Department of Neurology, NeuroCure Clinical Research Center, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Germany.
4
Department of Neurology, Universitätsmedizin Greifswald, Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Straße, Greifswald, Germany.
5
Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Anna-Louisa-Karsch-Straße 2, 10178, Berlin, Germany.
6
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Institute of Biometry and Clinical Epidemiology, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Germany.
7
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Center for Stroke Research, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Germany.
8
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Department of Neurology, NeuroCure Clinical Research Center, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Germany. agnes.floeel@uni-greifswald.de.
9
Department of Neurology, Universitätsmedizin Greifswald, Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Straße, Greifswald, Germany. agnes.floeel@uni-greifswald.de.

Abstract

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) augments training-induced cognitive gains, an issue of particular relevance in the aging population. However, negative outcomes have been reported as well, and few studies so far have evaluated the impact of tDCS on episodic memory formation in elderly cohorts. The heterogeneity of previous findings highlights the importance of elucidating neuronal underpinnings of tDCS-induced modulations, and of determining individual predictors of a positive response. In the present study, we aimed to modulate episodic memory formation in 34 older adults with anodal tDCS (1 mA, 20 min) over left temporoparietal cortex. Participants were asked to learn novel associations between pictures and pseudowords, and episodic memory performance was subsequently assessed during immediate retrieval. Prior to experimental sessions, participants underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. tDCS led to better retrieval performance and augmented learning curves. Hippocampo-temporoparietal functional connectivity was positively related to initial memory performance, and was positively associated with the magnitude of individual tDCS-induced enhancement. In sum, we provide evidence for brain stimulation-induced plasticity of episodic memory processes in older adults, corroborating and extending previous findings. Our results demonstrate that intrinsic network coupling may determine individual responsiveness to brain stimulation, and thus help to further explain variability of tDCS responsiveness in older adults.

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