Combining HF rTMS over the left DLPFC with concurrent cognitive activity for the offline modulation of working memory in healthy volunteers: A proof-of-concept study

Ilya Bakulin, Alfiia Zabirova, Dmitry Lagoda, Alexandra Poydasheva, Anastasiia Cherkasova, Nikolay Pavlov, Peter Kopnin, Dmitry Sinitsyn, Elena Kremneva, Maxim Fedorov, Elena Gnedovskaya, Natalia Suponeva, Michael Piradov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    It has been proposed that the effectiveness of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) as a cognitive enhancement technique may be enhanced by combining the stimulation with concurrent cognitive activity. However, the benefits of such a combination in comparison to protocols without ongoing cognitive activity have not yet been studied. In the present study, we investigate the effects of fMRI-guided high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (HF rTMS) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) on working memory (WM) in healthy volunteers, using an n-back task with spatial and verbal stimuli and a spatial span task. In two combined protocols (TMS + WM + (maintenance) and TMS + WM + (rest)) trains of stimuli were applied in the maintenance and rest periods of the modified Sternberg task, respectively. We compared them to HF rTMS without a cognitive load (TMS + WM-) and control stimulation (TMS – WM + (maintenance)). No serious adverse effects appeared in this study. Among all protocols, significant effects on WM were shown only for the TMS + WM-with oppositely directed influences of this protocol on storage and manipulation in spatial WM. Moreover, there was a significant difference between the effects of TMS + WM-and TMS + WM + (maintenance), suggesting that simultaneous cognitive activity does not necessarily lead to an increase in TMS effects.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number83
    JournalBrain Sciences
    Volume10
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

    Keywords

    • Cognitive enhancement
    • Cognitive function
    • Cognitive training
    • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
    • N-back task
    • Neuromodulation
    • Non-invasive brain stimulation
    • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
    • Working memory

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