Learned EEG-based brain self-regulation of motor-related oscillations during application of transcranial electric brain stimulation: Feasibility and limitations

Surjo R. Soekadar, Matthias Witkowski, Eliana G. Cossio, Niels Birbaumer, Leonardo G. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) improves motor learning and can affect emotional processing and attention. However, it is unclear whether learned electroencephalography (EEG)-based brain-machine interface (BMI) control during tDCS is feasible, how application of transcranial electric currents during BMI control would interfere with feature-extraction of physiological brain signals and how it affects brain control performance. Here we tested this combination and evaluated stimulation-dependent artifacts across different EEG frequencies and stability of motor imagery-based BMI control. Approach: Ten healthy volunteers were invited to two BMI-sessions, each comprising two 60-trial blocks. During the trials, learned desynchronization of mu-rhythms (8-15 Hz) associated with motor imagery (MI) recorded over C4 was translated into online cursor movements on a computer screen. During block 2, either sham (session A) or anodal tDCS (session B) was applied at 1 mA with the stimulation electrode placed 1 cm anterior of C4. Main results: tDCS was associated with a significant signal power increase in the lower frequencies most evident in the signal spectrum of the EEG channel closest to the stimulation electrode. Stimulation-dependent signal power increase exhibited a decay of 12 dB per decade, leaving frequencies above 9 Hz unaffected. Analysis of BMI control performance did not indicate a difference between blocks and tDCS conditions. Conclusion: Application of tDCS during learned EEG-based self-regulation of brain oscillations above 9 Hz is feasible and safe, and might improve applicability of BMI systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue numberMAR
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 18 2014

Keywords

  • Brain-machine interface (BMI) control
  • EEG
  • Motor imagery
  • Stimulation artifacts
  • Transcranial electric stimulation (TES)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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