Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS)

Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 Jun 28;7:317. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00317. Print 2013.


Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) seems likely to open a new era of the field of noninvasive electrical stimulation of the human brain by directly interfering with cortical rhythms. It is expected to synchronize (by one single resonance frequency) or desynchronize (e.g., by the application of several frequencies) cortical oscillations. If applied long enough it may cause neuroplastic effects. In the theta range it may improve cognition when applied in phase. Alpha rhythms could improve motor performance, whereas beta intrusion may deteriorate them. TACS with both alpha and beta frequencies has a high likelihood to induce retinal phosphenes. Gamma intrusion can possibly interfere with attention. Stimulation in the "ripple" range induces intensity dependent inhibition or excitation in the motor cortex (M1) most likely by entrainment of neuronal networks, whereas stimulation in the low kHz range induces excitation by neuronal membrane interference. TACS in the 200 kHz range may have a potential in oncology.

Keywords: human brain; motor; oscillations; tACS; visual.