Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can interfere with cognitive processes, such as transiently impairing memory. As part of a multi-center European project, we investigated the adaptability and reproducibility of a previously published TMS memory interfering protocol in two centers using EEG or fMRI scenarios. Participants were invited to attend three experimental sessions on different days, with sham repetitive TMS (rTMS) applied on day 1 and real rTMS on days 2 and 3. Sixty-eight healthy young men were included. On each experimental day, volunteers were instructed to remember visual pictures while receiving neuronavigated rTMS trains (20 Hz, 900 ms) during picture encoding at the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (L-DLPFC) and the vertex. Mixed ANOVA model analyses were performed. rTMS to the L-DLPFC significantly disrupted recognition memory on experimental day 2. No differences were found between centers or between fMRI and EEG recordings. Subjects with lower baseline memory performances were more susceptible to TMS disruption. No stability of TMS-induced memory interference could be demonstrated on day 3. Our data suggests that adapted cognitive rTMS protocols can be implemented in multi-center studies incorporating standardized experimental procedures. However, our center and modality effects analyses lacked sufficient statistical power, hence highlighting the need to conduct further studies with larger samples. In addition, inter and intra-subject variability in response to TMS might limit its application in crossover or longitudinal studies.
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