tDCS During Sleep Facilitates Insight into Temporal Rules

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Transcranial Current Stimulation During Sleep Facilitates Insight into Temporal Rules, but does not Consolidate Memories of Individual Sequential Experiences.

Slow-wave sleep (SWS) is known to contribute to memory consolidation, likely through the reactivation of previously encoded waking experiences. Contemporary studies demonstrate that when auditory or olfactory stimulation is administered during memory encoding and then reapplied during SWS, memory consolidation can be enhanced, an effect that is believed to rely on targeted memory reactivation (TMR) induced by the sensory stimulation. Here, we show that transcranial current stimulations (tCS) during sleep can also be used to induce TMR, resulting in the facilitation of high-level cognitive processes. Participants were exposed to repeating sequences in a realistic 3D immersive environment while being stimulated with particular tCS patterns. A subset of these tCS patterns was then reapplied during sleep stages N2 and SWS coupled to slow oscillations in a closed-loop manner. We found that in contrast to our initial hypothesis, performance for the sequences corresponding to the reapplied tCS patterns was no better than for other sequences that received stimulations only during wake or not at all. In contrast, we found that the more stimulations participants received overnight, the more likely they were to detect temporal regularities governing the learned sequences the following morning, with tCS-induced beta power modulations during sleep mediating this effect.

PMID: 30728363 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Sci Rep. 2019 02 06;9(1):1516

Authors: Lerner I, Ketz NA, Jones AP, Bryant NB, Robert B, Skorheim SW, Hartholt A, Rizzo AS, Gluck MA, Clark VP, Pilly PK