Spontaneous Fluctuations in Oscillatory Brain State Cause Differences in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Effects Within and Between Individuals

Shanice E. W. Janssens*, Alexander T. Sack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can cause measurable effects on neural activity and behavioral performance in healthy volunteers. In addition, TMS is increasingly used in clinical practice for treating various neuropsychiatric disorders. Unfortunately, TMS-induced effects show large intra- and inter-subject variability, hindering its reliability, and efficacy. One possible source of this variability may be the spontaneous fluctuations of neuronal oscillations. We present recent studies using multimodal TMS including TMS-EMG (electromyography), TMS-tACS (transcranial alternating current stimulation), and concurrent TMS-EEG-fMRI (electroencephalography, functional magnetic resonance imaging), to evaluate how individual oscillatory brain state affects TMS signal propagation within targeted networks. We demonstrate how the spontaneous oscillatory state at the time of TMS influences both immediate and longer-lasting TMS effects. These findings indicate that at least part of the variability in TMS efficacy may be attributable to the current practice of ignoring (spontaneous) oscillatory fluctuations during TMS. Ignoring this state-dependent spread of activity may cause great individual variability which so far is poorly understood and has proven impossible to control. We therefore also compare two technical solutions to directly account for oscillatory state during TMS, namely, to use (a) tACS to externally control these oscillatory states and then apply TMS at the optimal (controlled) brain state, or (b) oscillatory state-triggered TMS (closed-loop TMS). The described multimodal TMS approaches are paramount for establishing more robust TMS effects, and to allow enhanced control over the individual outcome of TMS interventions aimed at modulating information flow in the brain to achieve desirable changes in cognition, mood, and behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number802244
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • ALTERNATING-CURRENT STIMULATION
  • CORTICAL EXCITABILITY
  • CORTICOSPINAL VOLLEYS
  • EARLY VISUAL-CORTEX
  • INTERINDIVIDUAL VARIABILITY
  • INTRAINDIVIDUAL VARIABILITY
  • LARGE-SCALE ANALYSIS
  • PRIMARY MOTOR CORTEX
  • TEMPORAL CHARACTERISTICS
  • THETA-BURST STIMULATION
  • closed-loop TMS
  • inter-and intra-subject variability
  • multimodal TMS
  • neuronal oscillations
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

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