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Network mechanisms of responsiveness to continuous theta-burst stimulation

Authors

  • Sviatlana Rizk,

    1. Division of Neurorehabilitation, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
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  • Radek Ptak,

    1. Division of Neurorehabilitation, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
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  • Thomas Nyffeler,

    1. Division of Neurology and Neurorehabilitation, Kantonsspital, Lucerne, Switzerland
    2. Perception and Eye Movement Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Department of Clinical Research, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
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  • Armin Schnider,

    1. Division of Neurorehabilitation, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
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  • Adrian G. Guggisberg

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Neurorehabilitation, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
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Abstract

Continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) can modify behavior, but effects are inconsistent and their mechanisms insufficiently understood. As coherence in resting-state networks influences human behavior, we hypothesized that cTBS may act via modulation of neural oscillation coherence. This study used electroencephalography (EEG) to investigate whether behavioral effects of cTBS on visuospatial attention are associated with coherence changes in the attention network. In healthy human subjects, cTBS of the right posterior parietal cortex (PPC) and the right frontal eye field was compared with sham stimulation. Effects on visuospatial attention were quantified with a visual exploration task, and network effects were assessed from surface EEG with inverse solutions and source coherence analyses. Before stimulation, left visual exploration was linearly correlated with alpha-band coherence between the right temporo-parietal cortex and the rest of the brain. Posterior parietal cortex stimulation induced neglect-like visual exploration behavior in the majority, but not all, subjects. It reduced alpha-band coherence between the stimulation site and the rest of the brain but also enhanced it between the contralateral left parietal cortex and the rest of the brain. The contralateral increase correlated with the induced reduction in left visual attention. The behavioral response of individual participants to cTBS could be predicted by coherence in the right temporo-parietal junction before stimulation. Behavioral effects of cTBS therefore depend on network states before stimulation and are linearly associated with changes in network interactions. In particular, cTBS modulates an interhemispheric competition in alpha-band coherence. EEG network imaging might help to optimize therapeutic cTBS in the future.

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