The goal of this study was to develop methods for simultaneously acquiring electrophysiological data during high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) using high-resolution electroencephalography (EEG). Previous studies have pointed to the after-effects of tDCS on both motor and cognitive performance, and there appears to be potential for using tDCS in a variety of clinical applications. However, little is known about the real-time effects of tDCS on rhythmic cortical activity in humans due to the technical challenges of simultaneously obtaining electrophysiological data during ongoing stimulation. Furthermore, the mechanisms of action of tDCS in humans are not well understood. We have conducted a simultaneous tDCS-EEG study in a group of healthy human subjects. Significant acute and persistent changes in spontaneous neural activity and event-related synchronization (ERS) were observed during and after the application of high-definition tDCS over the left sensorimotor cortex. Both anodal and cathodal stimulation resulted in acute global changes in broadband cortical activity which were significantly different than the changes observed in response to sham stimulation. For the group of eight subjects studied, broadband individual changes in spontaneous activity during stimulation were apparent both locally and globally. In addition, we found that high-definition tDCS of the left sensorimotor cortex can induce significant ipsilateral and contralateral changes in event-related desynchronization and ERS during motor imagination following the end of the stimulation period. Overall, our results demonstrate the feasibility of acquiring high-resolution EEG during high-definition tDCS and provide evidence that tDCS in humans directly modulates rhythmic cortical synchronization during and after its administration.
- Electroencephalography (EEG)
- event-related desynchronization (ERD)
- event-related synchronization (ERS)
- transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)