Abstract

Noninvasive brain stimulation is increasingly being investigated for the enhancement of cognition, yet current approaches appear to be limited in their degree and duration of effects. The majority of studies to date have delivered stimulation in “standard” ways (i.e., anodal transcranial direct current stimulation or high-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation). Specialized forms of stimulation, such as theta burst stimulation (TBS), which more closely mimic the brains natural firing patterns may have greater effects on cognitive performance. We report here the findings from the first-ever investigation into the persistent cognitive and electrophysiological effects of intermittent TBS (iTBS) delivered to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In 19 healthy controls, active iTBS significantly improved performance on an assessment of working memory when compared with sham stimulation across a period of 40 min post stimulation. The behavioral findings were accompanied by increases in task-related fronto-parietal theta sychronization and parietal gamma band power. These results have implications for the role of more specialized stimulation approaches in neuromodulation.

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