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Polarity-specific transcranial Direct Current Stimulation effects on object-selective neural responses in the Inferior Parietal Lobe

J. Almeida, A. Martins, F. Bergström, L. Amaral, A. Freixo, A. Ganho Ávila, S. Kristensen, D. Lee, J. Nogueira and M. Ruttorf

Cortex, 94, pp.176-181

Neuromodulation techniques such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) are routinely used for treating neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, and for enhancement of cognitive abilities. Recently, their effectiveness in modulating behavioral and neural responses has been questioned. Here we use excitatory and inhibitory tDCS prior to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment to show that neural responses for an area’s preferred stimuli depend on the polarity of stimulation. This is an important, yet overlooked, data point in demonstrating the effectiveness of these stimulation techniques. Our results show that response preferences in the target area are dependent on the polarity of the tDCS session preceding the fMRI experiment – these preferences are less distinct in the cathodal than in the anodal session. As such, we show unequivocally that tDCS modulates neural responses. This result is of the utmost importance in demonstrating the effectiveness of tDCS for clinical and experimental purposes.

Contact: Dr. Frank Zöllner last modified: 06.11.2019
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