Theta Burst Stimulation of the Human Motor Cortex

Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK.
Neuron (Impact Factor: 15.05). 02/2005; 45(2):201-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.12.033
Source: PubMed


It has been 30 years since the discovery that repeated electrical stimulation of neural pathways can lead to long-term potentiation in hippocampal slices. With its relevance to processes such as learning and memory, the technique has produced a vast literature on mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in animal models. To date, the most promising method for transferring these methods to humans is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a noninvasive method of stimulating neural pathways in the brain of conscious subjects through the intact scalp. However, effects on synaptic plasticity reported are often weak, highly variable between individuals, and rarely last longer than 30 min. Here we describe a very rapid method of conditioning the human motor cortex using rTMS that produces a controllable, consistent, long-lasting, and powerful effect on motor cortex physiology and behavior after an application period of only 20-190 s.

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    • "completed filler motor and visual estimation tasks to ensure that down-regulation of the pMFC took effect (Huang et al., 2005) and to defray suspicion about the target hypothesis regarding ideological affirmation (see the SOM for details). "
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    ABSTRACT: People cleave to ideological convictions with greater intensity in the aftermath of threat. The posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC) plays a key role in both detecting discrepancies between desired and current conditions and adjusting subsequent behavior to resolve such conflicts. Building on prior literature examining the role of the pMFC in shifts in relatively low-level decision processes, we demonstrate that the pMFC mediates adjustments in adherence to political and religious ideologies. We presented participants with a reminder of death and a critique of their in-group ostensibly written by a member of an out-group, then experimentally decreased both avowed belief in God and out-group derogation by down-regulating pMFC activity via transcranial magnetic stimulation. The results provide the first evidence that group prejudice and religious belief are susceptible to targeted neuromodulation, and point to a shared cognitive mechanism underlying concrete and abstract decision processes. We discuss the implications of these findings for further research characterizing the cognitive and affective mechanisms at play. © The Author (2015). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email:
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 09/2015; DOI:10.1093/scan/nsv107 · 7.37 Impact Factor
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    • "In non-motor regions, rTMS can result in changes in behavioral measures such as task performance or reaction times (e.g., Mottaghy et al., 1999; Ahn et al., 2013). Stimulation can either enhance or inhibit local neural activity (Stefan et al., 2000; Huang et al., 2005). The changes induced with these stimulation paradigms are thought to reflect long-term potentiation (LTP)-like or long-term depression (LTD)-like changes in synaptic efficacy (Stefan et al., 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: The flexible integration of segregated neural processes is essential to healthy brain function. Advances in neuroimaging techniques have revealed that psychiatric and neurological disorders are characterized by anomalies in the dynamic integration of widespread neural populations. Re-establishing optimal neural activity is an important component of the treatment of such disorders. Non-invasive brain stimulation is emerging as a viable tool to selectively restore both local and widespread neural activity in patients affected by psychiatric and neurological disorders. Importantly, the different forms of non-invasive brain stimulation affect neural activity in distinct ways, which has important ramifications for their clinical efficacy. In this review, we discuss how non-invasive brain stimulation techniques influence widespread neural integration across brain regions. We suggest that the efficacy of such techniques in the treatment of psychiatric and neurological conditions is contingent on applying the appropriate stimulation paradigm to restore specific aspects of altered neural integration.
    Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.09.010 · 8.80 Impact Factor
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    • "Excitatory paired associative stimulation (PAS) [11], anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (AtDCS) [12] and intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) [13] are some examples of NIBS protocols that have been reported to induce a facilitation in the MEPs for periods up to 1 h post-stimulation. "
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    ABSTRACT: Cortical plasticity plays a key role in motor learning (ML). Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) paradigms have been used to modulate plasticity in the human motor cortex in order to facilitate ML. However, little is known about the relationship between NIBS-induced plasticity over M1 and ML capacity. NIBS-induced MEP changes are related to ML capacity. 56 subjects participated in three NIBS (paired associative stimulation, anodal transcranial direct current stimulation and intermittent theta-burst stimulation), and in three lab-based ML task (serial reaction time, visuomotor adaptation and sequential visual isometric pinch task) sessions. After clustering the patterns of response to the different NIBS protocols, we compared the ML variables between the different patterns found. We used regression analysis to explore further the relationship between ML capacity and summary measures of the MEPs change. We ran correlations with the "responders" group only. We found no differences in ML variables between clusters. Greater response to NIBS protocols may be predictive of poor performance within certain blocks of the VAT. "Responders" to AtDCS and to iTBS showed significantly faster reaction times than "non-responders." However, the physiological significance of these results is uncertain. MEP changes induced in M1 by PAS, AtDCS and iTBS appear to have little, if any, association with the ML capacity tested with the SRTT, the VAT and the SVIPT. However, cortical excitability changes induced in M1 by AtDCS and iTBS may be related to reaction time and retention of newly acquired skills in certain motor learning tasks. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Brain Stimulation 08/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.brs.2015.07.042 · 4.40 Impact Factor
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