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Keywords:

  • Balloon Analog Risk Task;
  • fMRI;
  • network analysis;
  • resting-state connectivity;
  • tDCS

Abstract

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a noninvasive brain stimulation technique used both experimentally and therapeutically to modulate regional brain function. However, few studies have directly measured the aftereffects of tDCS on brain activity or examined changes in task-related brain activity consequent to prefrontal tDCS. To investigate the neural effects of tDCS, we collected fMRI data from 22 human subjects, both at rest and while performing the Balloon Analog Risk Task (BART), before and after true or sham transcranial direct current stimulation. TDCS decreased resting blood perfusion in orbitofrontal cortex and the right caudate and increased task-related activity in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in response to losses but not wins or increasing risk. Network analysis showed that whole-brain connectivity of the right ACC correlated positively with the number of pumps subjects were willing to make on the BART, and that tDCS reduced connectivity between the right ACC and the rest of the brain. Whole-brain connectivity of the right DLPFC also correlated negatively with pumps on the BART, as prior literature would suggest. Our results suggest that tDCS can alter activation and connectivity in regions distal to the electrodes. Hum Brain Mapp 35:3673–3686, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.