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Open AccessArticle

Site-Specific Effects of Online rTMS during a Working Memory Task in Healthy Older Adults

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Duke University School of Medicine, 200 Trent Drive, Box 3620 DUMC, Durham, NC 27710, USA
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Department of Neurology, Duke University School of Medicine, 3116 N Duke Street, Durham, NC 27704, USA
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Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University, 308 Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710, USA
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National Institute of Mental Health, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20852, USA
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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, 305 Teer Engineering Building, Box 90271, Durham, NC 27708, USA
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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University, 305 Teer Engineering Building, Box 90271, Durham, NC 27708, USA
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Department of Neurosurgery, Duke University School of Medicine, 200 Trent Drive, Box 3807 DUMC, Durham, NC 27710, USA
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Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Duke University, 417 Chapel Drive, Durham, NC 27708, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(5), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10050255
Received: 26 March 2020 / Revised: 24 April 2020 / Accepted: 27 April 2020 / Published: 27 April 2020
The process of manipulating information within working memory is central to many cognitive functions, but also declines rapidly in old age. Improving this process could markedly enhance the health-span in older adults. The current pre-registered, randomized and placebo-controlled study tested the potential of online repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied at 5 Hz over the left lateral parietal cortex to enhance working memory manipulation in healthy elderly adults. rTMS was applied, while participants performed a delayed-response alphabetization task with two individually titrated levels of difficulty. Coil placement and stimulation amplitude were calculated from fMRI activation maps combined with electric field modeling on an individual-subject basis in order to standardize dosing at the targeted cortical location. Contrary to the a priori hypothesis, active rTMS significantly decreased accuracy relative to sham, and only in the hardest difficulty level. When compared to the results from our previous study, in which rTMS was applied over the left prefrontal cortex, we found equivalent effect sizes but opposite directionality suggesting a site-specific effect of rTMS. These results demonstrate engagement of cortical working memory processing using a novel TMS targeting approach, while also providing prescriptions for future studies seeking to enhance memory through rTMS. View Full-Text
Keywords: repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation; working memory; aging; fMRI; electric field modeling repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation; working memory; aging; fMRI; electric field modeling
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Beynel, L.; Davis, S.W.; Crowell, C.A.; Dannhauer, M.; Lim, W.; Palmer, H.; Hilbig, S.A.; Brito, A.; Hile, C.; Luber, B.; Lisanby, S.H.; Peterchev, A.V.; Cabeza, R.; Appelbaum, L.G. Site-Specific Effects of Online rTMS during a Working Memory Task in Healthy Older Adults. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 255.

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