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Bagattini C.,Irccs Centro San Giovanni Of Dio Fatebenefratelli | Mazzi C.,University of Verona | Savazzi S.,University of Verona

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the occipital cortex is known to induce visual sensations, i.e. phosphenes, which appear as flashes of light in the absence of an external stimulus. Recent studies have shown that TMS can produce phosphenes also when the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) is stimulated. The main question addressed in this paper is whether parietal phosphenes are generated directly by local mechanisms or emerge through indirect activation of other visual areas. Electroencephalographic (EEG) signals were recorded while stimulating left occipital or parietal cortices inducing phosphene perception in healthy participants and in a hemianopic patient who suffered from complete destruction of the early visual cortex of the left hemisphere. Results in healthy participants showed that the onset of phosphene perception induced by occipital TMS correlated with differential cortical activity in temporal sites while the onset of phosphene perception induced by parietal TMS correlated with differential cortical activity in the stimulated parietal site. Moreover, IPS-TMS of the lesioned hemisphere of the hemianopic patient with a complete lesion to V1 showed again that the onset of phosphene perception correlated with differential cortical activity in the stimulated parietal site. The present data seem thus to suggest that temporal and parietal cortices can serve as different local early gatekeepers of perceptual awareness and that activity in the occipital cortex, although being relevant for perception in general, is not part of the neural bases of the perceptual awareness of phosphenes. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Benwell C.S.Y.,University of Glasgow | Learmonth G.,University of Glasgow | Miniussi C.,University of Brescia | Miniussi C.,Irccs Centro San Giovanni Of Dio Fatebenefratelli | And 2 more authors.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a well-established technique for non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS). However, the technique suffers from a high variability in outcome, some of which is likely explained by the state of the brain at tDCS-delivery but for which explanatory, mechanistic models are lacking. Here, we tested the effects of bi-parietal tDCS on perceptual line bisection as a function of tDCS current strength (1mA vs2mA) and individual baseline discrimination sensitivity (a measure associated with intrinsic uncertainty/signal-to-noise balance). Our main findings were threefold. We replicated a previous finding (Giglia etal., 2011) of a rightward shift in subjective midpoint after Left anode/Right cathode tDCS over parietal cortex (sham-controlled). We found this effect to be weak over our entire sample (. n=38), but to be substantial in a subset of participants when they were split according to tDCS-intensity and baseline performance. This was due to a complex, nonlinear interaction between these two factors. Our data lend further support to the notion of state-dependency in NIBS which suggests outcome to depend on the endogenous balance between task-informative 'signal' and task-uninformative 'noise' at baseline. The results highlight the strong influence of individual differences and variations in experimental parameters on tDCS outcome, and the importance of fostering knowledge on the factors influencing tDCS outcome across cognitive domains. © 2015 The Authors. Source

Fertonani A.,Irccs Centro San Giovanni Of Dio Fatebenefratelli | Ferrari C.,Irccs Centro San Giovanni Of Dio Fatebenefratelli | Miniussi C.,Irccs Centro San Giovanni Of Dio Fatebenefratelli | Miniussi C.,University of Brescia
Clinical Neurophysiology

Objective: The goals of this work are to report data regarding a large number of stimulation sessions and to use model analyses to explain the similarities or differences in the sensations induced by different parameters of tES application. Methods: We analysed sensation data relative to 693 different tES sessions. In particular, we studied the effects on sensations induced by different types of current, categories of polarity and frequency, different timing, levels of current density and intensity, different electrode sizes and different electrode locations (areas). Results: The application of random or fixed alternating current stimulation (i.e., tRNS and tACS) over the scalp induced less sensation compared with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), regardless of the application parameters. Moreover, anodal tDCS induced more annoyance in comparison to other tES. Additionally, larger electrodes induced stronger sensations compared with smaller electrodes, and higher intensities were more strongly perceived. Timing of stimulation, montage and current density did not influence sensations perception. The analyses demonstrated that the induced sensations could be clustered on the basis of the type of somatosensory system activated. Finally and most important no adverse events were reported. Conclusion: Induced sensations are modulated by electrode size and intensity and mainly pertain to the cutaneous receptor activity of the somatosensory system. Moreover, the procedure currently used to perform placebo stimulation may not be totally effective when compared with anodal tDCS. Significance: The reported observations enrich the literature regarding the safety aspects of tES, confirming that it is a painless and safe technique. © 2015 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Source

Pirulli C.,Irccs Centro San Giovanni Of Dio Fatebenefratelli | Fertonani A.,Irccs Centro San Giovanni Of Dio Fatebenefratelli | Miniussi C.,Irccs Centro San Giovanni Of Dio Fatebenefratelli | Miniussi C.,University of Brescia
Brain Stimulation

Background: Transcranial electric stimulation (tES) protocols are able to induce neuromodulation, offering important insights to focus and constrain theories of the relationship between brain and behavior. Previous studies have shown that different types of tES (i.e., direct current stimulation - tDCS, and random noise stimulation - tRNS) induce different facilitatory behavioral effects. However to date is not clear which is the optimal timing to apply tES in relation to the induction of robust facilitatory effects. Objective/hypothesis: The goal of this work was to investigate how different types of tES (tDCS and tRNS) can modulate behavioral performance in the healthy adult brain in relation to their timing of application. We applied tES protocols before (offline) or during (online) the execution of a visual perceptual learning (PL) task. PL is a form of implicit memory that is characterized by an improvement in sensory discrimination after repeated exposure to a particular type of stimulus and is considered a manifestation of neural plasticity. Our aim was to understand if the timing of tES is critical for the induction of differential neuromodulatory effects in the primary visual cortex (V1). Methods: We applied high-frequency tRNS, anodal tDCS and sham tDCS on V1 before or during the execution of an orientation discrimination task. The experimental design was between subjects and performance was measured in terms of d' values. Results: The ideal timing of application varied depending on the stimulation type. tRNS facilitated task performance only when it was applied during task execution, whereas anodal tDCS induced a larger facilitation if it was applied before task execution. Conclusion: The main result of this study is the finding that the timing of identical tES protocols yields opposite effects on performance. These results provide important guidelines for designing neuromodulation induction protocols and highlight the different optimal timing of the two excitatory techniques. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source

Bortoletto M.,Irccs Centro San Giovanni Of Dio Fatebenefratelli | Veniero D.,University of Glasgow | Thut G.,University of Glasgow | Miniussi C.,Irccs Centro San Giovanni Of Dio Fatebenefratelli | Miniussi C.,University of Brescia
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews

Recent developments in neuroscience have emphasised the importance of integrated distributed networks of brain areas for successful cognitive functioning. Our current understanding is that the brain has a modular organisation in which segregated networks supporting specialised processing are linked through a few long-range connections, ensuring processing integration. Although such architecture is structurally stable, it appears to be flexible in its functioning, enabling long-range connections to regulate the information flow and facilitate communication among the relevant modules, depending on the contingent cognitive demands. Here we show how insights brought by the coregistration of transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography (TMS-EEG) integrate and support recent models of functional brain architecture. Moreover, we will highlight the types of data that can be obtained through TMS-EEG, such as the timing of signal propagation, the excitatory/inhibitory nature of connections and causality. Last, we will discuss recent emerging applications of TMS-EEG in the study of brain disorders. © 2014 The Authors. Source

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