PubMed | Bernstein Focus State Dependencies of Learning and Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in human neuroscience | Year: 2012
Neurological disorders and physiological aging can lead to a decline of perceptual abilities. In contrast to the conventional therapeutic approach that comprises intensive training and practicing, passive repetitive sensory stimulation (RSS) has recently gained increasing attention as an alternative to countervail the sensory decline by improving perceptual abilities without the need of active participation. A particularly effective type of high-frequency RSS, utilizing Hebbian learning principles, improves perceptual acuity as well as sensorimotor functions and has been successfully applied to treat chronic stroke patients and elderly subjects. High-frequency RSS has been shown to induce plastic changes of somatosensory cortex such as representational map reorganization, but its impact on the brains ongoing network activity and resting-state functional connectivity has not been investigated so far. Here, we applied high-frequency RSS in healthy human subjects and analyzed resting state Electroencephalography (EEG) functional connectivity patterns before and after RSS by means of imaginary coherency (ImCoh), a frequency-specific connectivity measure which is known to reduce over-estimation biases due to volume conduction and common reference. Thirty minutes of passive high-frequency RSS lead to significant ImCoh-changes of the resting state mu-rhythm in the individual upper alpha frequency band within distributed sensory and motor cortical areas. These stimulation induced distributed functional connectivity changes likely underlie the previously observed improvement in sensorimotor integration.