Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can influence cognitive, affective or motor brain functions. Whereas previous imaging studies demonstrated widespread tDCS effects on brain metabolism, direct impact of tDCS on electric or magnetic source activity in task-related brain areas could not be confirmed due to the difficulty to record such activity simultaneously during tDCS. The aim of this proof-of-principal study was to demonstrate the feasibility of whole-head source localization and reconstruction of neuromagnetic brain activity during tDCS and to confirm the direct effect of tDCS on ongoing neuromagnetic activity in task-related brain areas. Here we show for the first time that tDCS has an immediate impact on slow cortical magnetic fields (SCF, 0-4. Hz) of task-related areas that are identical with brain regions previously described in metabolic neuroimaging studies. 14 healthy volunteers performed a choice reaction time (RT) task while whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG) was recorded. Task-related source-activity of SCFs was calculated using synthetic aperture magnetometry (SAM) in absence of stimulation and while anodal, cathodal or sham tDCS was delivered over the right primary motor cortex (M1). Source reconstruction revealed task-related SCF modulations in brain regions that precisely matched prior metabolic neuroimaging studies. Anodal and cathodal tDCS had a polarity-dependent impact on RT and SCF in primary sensorimotor and medial centro-parietal cortices. Combining tDCS and whole-head MEG is a powerful approach to investigate the direct effects of transcranial electric currents on ongoing neuromagnetic source activity, brain function and behavior.
- Slow cortical fields
- Transcranial direct current stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience