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Towards Optimization of Oscillatory Stimulation during Sleep
Citation key Khakimova2022
Author Khakimova, L. and Malinowski, R. and Obst, D. and Tönnies, E. and Antonenko, D. and Obermayer, K.and Hanna, J. and Flöel, A.
Year In press
Journal Neuromodulation
Abstract Background Oscillatory rhythms during sleep such as slow oscillations (SO) and spindles, and most importantly their coupling, are thought to underlie processes of memory consolidation. External slow oscillatory transcranial direct current stimulation (so-tDCS) with a frequency of 0.75 Hz has been shown to improve this coupling and memory consolidation, however, effects varied quite markedly between individuals, studies, and species. Here, we aimed to determine how precisely the frequency of stimulation has to match the naturally occurring SO frequency in individuals to optimally improve SO-spindle coupling. Moreover, we systematically tested stimulation durations necessary to induce changes. Methods We addressed these questions by comparing so-tDCS with individualized frequency to standardized frequency of 0.75 Hz in a within-subject design with 28 older participants during napping while systematically varying stimulation train durations between 30 s, 2 min, and 5 min. Results Stimulation trains as short as 30 s were sufficient to modulate the coupling between SOs and spindle activity. Contrary to our expectations, so-tDCS with standardized frequency indicated stronger aftereffects with regard to SO-spindle coupling compared to individualized frequency. Angle and variance of spindle maxima occurrence during the SO cycle were similarly modulated. Conclusion In sum, short stimulation trains were sufficient to induce significant changes in sleep physiology allowing for more trains of stimulation, which provides methodological advantages and possibly even larger behavioral effects in future studies. With regard to individualized stimulation frequency, further options of optimization need to be investigated, such as closed-loop stimulation to calibrate stimulation frequency to the SO frequency at time of stimulation onset.
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