Does high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation produce residual and/or cumulative effects within an experimental session?
Hamidi, M., Johson, J. S., Feredoes, E. and Postle, B. R. (2011) Does high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation produce residual and/or cumulative effects within an experimental session? Brain Topography, 23 (4). pp. 355-367. ISSN 0896-0267
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1007/s10548-010-0153-y
A common procedure for studying the effects on cognition of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is to deliver rTMS concurrent with task performance, and to compare task performance on these trials versus on trials without rTMS. Recent evidence that TMS can have effects on neural activity that persist longer than the experimental session itself, however, raise questions about the assumption of the transient nature of rTMS that underlies many concurrent (or "online") rTMS designs. To our knowledge, there have been no studies in the cognitive domain examining whether the application of brief trains of rTMS during specific epochs of a complex task may have effects that spill over into subsequent task epochs, and perhaps into subsequent trials. We looked for possible immediate spill-over and longer-term cumulative effects of rTMS in data from two studies of visual short-term delayed recognition. In 54 subjects, 10-Hz rTMS trains were applied to five different brain regions during the 3-s delay period of a spatial task, and in a second group of 15 subjects, electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded while 10-Hz rTMS was applied to two brain areas during the 3-s delay period of both spatial and object tasks. No evidence for immediate effects was found in the comparison of the memory probe-evoked response on trials that were vs. were not preceded by delay-period rTMS. No evidence for cumulative effects was found in analyses of behavioral performance, and of EEG signal, as a function of task block. The implications of these findings, and their relation to the broader literature on acute vs. long-lasting effects of rTMS, are considered.