Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) at low intensity induces changes in cortical excitability that persist after polarization ends. The effects of anodal and cathodal polarization remain controversial. We studied changes in visual evoked potentials (VEPs) during and after anodal and cathodal tDCS by applying, in healthy volunteers, 1 mA polarization through surface electrodes placed over the occipital scalp (polarizing) and over the anterior or posterior neck-base (reference). We compared tDCS applied at two durations, 3 and 10 min and both polarities. We assessed VEP-P100 latencies and amplitudes in response to pattern-reversal checkerboard stimuli before, during, and after polarization. Anodal polarization reduced VEP-P100 amplitude whereas cathodal polarization significantly increased amplitude but both polarities left latency statistically unchanged. These changes persisted for some minutes after polarization ended depending on the duration of tDCS and on the contrast level of visual stimuli. tDCS-induced changes in VEPs seem to depend on the duration of polarization and type of visual stimuli used. The effects induced on visual cortical neurones during polarization are more consistent than the aftereffects. Studying these changes during polarization may therefore improve our understanding of these phenomena.
- Cortical polarization
ASJC Scopus subject areas