Slow oscillatory- (so-) tDCS has been applied in many sleep studies aimed to modulate brain rhythms of slow wave sleep and memory consolidation. Yet, so-tDCS may also modify coupled oscillatory networks. Efficacy of weak electric brain stimulation is however variable and dependent upon the brain state at the time of stimulation (subject and/or task-related) as well as on stimulation parameters (e.g., electrode placement and applied current. Anodal so-tDCS was applied during wakefulness with eyes-closed to examine efficacy when deviating from the dominant brain rhythm. Additionally, montages of different electrodes size and applied current strength were used. During a period of quiet wakefulness bilateral frontolateral stimulation (F3, F4; return electrodes at ipsilateral mastoids) was applied to two groups: ‘Group small’ (n
= 16, f:8; small electrodes: 0.50 cm2
; maximal current per electrode pair: 0.26 mA) and ‘Group Large’ (n
= 16, f:8; 35 cm2
; 0.35 mA). Anodal so-tDCS (0.75 Hz) was applied in five blocks of 5 min epochs with 1 min stimulation-free epochs between the blocks. A finger sequence tapping task (FSTT) was used to induce comparable cortical activity across sessions and subject groups. So-tDCS resulted in a suppression of alpha power over the parietal cortex. Interestingly, in Group Small alpha suppression occurred over the standard band (8–12 Hz), whereas for Group Large power of individual alpha frequency was suppressed. Group Small also revealed a decrease in FSTT performance at retest after stimulation. It is essential to include concordant measures of behavioral and brain activity to help understand variability and poor reproducibility in oscillatory-tDCS studies.
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