Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, UK
Brain oscillations reflect interactions between neuronal elements which functionally assemble into networks through synchronization in specific frequency bands, and which can be measured by encephalography (EEG/MEG). NTBS on the other hand can be used to stimulate cortical areas rhythmically at frequencies that characterize EEG/MEG-signals. This raises a series of intriguing questions: Could frequency-tuned NTBS be used to transiently entrain oscillatory network activity? Could this enhance the specificity of established NTBS interventions by adding a temporal to the customary spatial dimension of targeting? And may this promote associated functions?
This talk will outline the opportunities of timing NTBS to ongoing brain activity for enhancing its efficacy. Emerging findings emphasize brain oscillations as promising targets for interventions. This offers a principled framework for influencing the brain-behavior relationship by NTBS. The talk will cover research on frequency-tuned rhythmic TMS or tACS, combined with EEG/MEG recordings, to guide and document the effects of transcranial stimulation, with an emphasis on the visual/attention system. This has been used to address whether brain oscillations merely reflect correlates of the neuronal processes implementing brain functions (are inevitable side-products) or may also have explanatory power as to how the brain operates, and by extension may serve as targets for experimental and clinical interventions. Applications that have helped to shed new light on the neural substrates of sensory sampling and attentional selection are highlighted.