Transcranial Temporal Interference Stimulation (tTIS) Influences Event-Related Alpha Activity During Mental Rotation

Thiele, Carsten, Rufener, Katherina S., Repplinger, Stefan, Zaehle, Tino and Ruhnau, Philipp orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-6546-7312 (2024) Transcranial Temporal Interference Stimulation (tTIS) Influences Event-Related Alpha Activity During Mental Rotation. Psychophysiology . ISSN 0048-5772

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Non-invasive brain stimulation techniques offer therapeutic potential for neurological and psychiatric disorders. However, current methods are often limited in their stimulation depth. The novel transcranial temporal interference stimulation (tTIS) aims to overcome this limitation by non-invasively targeting deeper brain regions. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the efficacy of tTIS in modulating alpha activity during a mental rotation task. The effects of tTIS were compared with transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) and a sham control. Participants were randomly assigned to a tTIS, tACS, or sham group. They performed alternating blocks of resting and mental rotation tasks before, during, and after stimulation. During the stimulation blocks, participants received 20 min of stimulation adjusted to their individual alpha frequency (IAF). We assessed shifts in resting state alpha power, event-related desynchronization (ERD) of alpha activity during mental rotation, as well as resulting improvements in behavioral performance. Our results indicate tTIS and tACS to be effective in modulating cortical alpha activity during mental rotation, leading to an increase in ERD from pre- to poststimulation as well as compared to sham stimulation. However, this increase in ERD was not correlated with enhanced mental rotation performance, and resting state alpha power remained unchanged. Our findings underscore the complex nature of tTIS and tACS efficacy, indicating that stimulation effects are more observable during active cognitive tasks, while their impacts are less pronounced on resting neuronal systems.

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