tDCS modulates brain functional connectivity in autism.

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Transcranial direct current stimulation modulates brain functional connectivity in autism.

Abstract
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by deficits in social interactions, impairments in language and communication, and highly restricted behavioral interests. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a widely used form of noninvasive stimulation and may have therapeutic potential for ASD. So far, despite the widespread use of this technique in the neuroscience field, its effects on network-level neural activity and the underlying mechanisms of any effects are still unclear. In the present study, we used electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate tDCS induced brain network changes in children with ASD before and after active and sham stimulation. We recorded 5 min of resting state EEG before and after a single session of tDCS (of approximately 20 min) over dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Two network-based methods were applied to investigate tDCS modulation on brain networks: 1) temporal network dynamics were analyzed by comparing “flexibility” changes before vs after stimulation, and 2) frequency specific network changes were identified using non-negative matrix factorization (NMF). We found 1) an increase in network flexibility following tDCS (rapid network configuration of dynamic network communities), 2) specific increase in interhemispheric connectivity within the alpha frequency band following tDCS. Together, these results demonstrate that tDCS could help modify both local and global brain network dynamics, and highlight stimulation-induced differences in the manifestation of network reconfiguration. Meanwhile, frequency-specific subnetworks, as a way to index local and global information processing, highlight the core modulatory effects of tDCS on the modular architecture of the functional connectivity patterns within higher frequency bands.

PMID: 33395990 [PubMed – in process]

Neuroimage Clin. 2020;28:102500

Authors: Zhou T, Kang J, Li Z, Chen H, Li X

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