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Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Alters Functional Network Structure in Humans: A Graph Theoretical Analysis

M. Ruttorf, S. Kristensen, L. Schad and J. Almeida

IEEE T Med Imaging,, p. in press

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is routinely used in basic and clinical research, but its efficacy has been challenged on a methodological, statistical and technical basis recently. The arguments against tDCS derive from insufficient understanding of how this technique interacts with brain processes physiologically. Because of its potential as a central tool in neuroscience, it is important to clarify whether tDCS affects neuronal activity. Here, we investigate influences of offline tDCS on network architecture measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Applied to one network node only, offline tDCS affects the architecture of the entire functional network. Furthermore, offline tDCS exerts polarity-specific effects on the topology of the functional network attached. Our results confirm in a functioning brain and in a bias free and independent fashion that offline tDCS influences neuronal activity. Moreover, our results suggest that network-specific connectivity has an important role in improving our understanding of the effects of tDCS.

Contact: Dr. Frank Zöllner last modified: 20.08.2019
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