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Excitability changes induced in the human motor cortex by weak transcranial direct current stimulation
Article first published online: 13 AUG 2004
The Journal of Physiology
Volume 527, Issue 3, pages 633–639, September 2000
How to Cite
Nitsche, M. A. and Paulus, W. (2000), Excitability changes induced in the human motor cortex by weak transcranial direct current stimulation. The Journal of Physiology, 527: 633–639. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7793.2000.t01-1-00633.x
- Issue published online: 13 AUG 2004
- Article first published online: 13 AUG 2004
- (Received 8 May 2000; accepted after revision 5 June 2000)
- 1In this paper we demonstrate in the intact human the possibility of a non-invasive modulation of motor cortex excitability by the application of weak direct current through the scalp.
- 2Excitability changes of up to 40 %, revealed by transcranial magnetic stimulation, were accomplished and lasted for several minutes after the end of current stimulation.
- 3Excitation could be achieved selectively by anodal stimulation, and inhibition by cathodal stimulation.
- 4By varying the current intensity and duration, the strength and duration of the after-effects could be controlled.
- 5The effects were probably induced by modification of membrane polarisation. Functional alterations related to post-tetanic potentiation, short-term potentiation and processes similar to postexcitatory central inhibition are the likely candidates for the excitability changes after the end of stimulation. Transcranial electrical stimulation using weak current may thus be a promising tool to modulate cerebral excitability in a non-invasive, painless, reversible, selective and focal way.