Research article Recurring Topics

Increasing the amplitude of intrinsic theta in the human brain

  • Received: 12 August 2020 Accepted: 27 October 2020 Published: 05 November 2020
  • In a mouse study we found increased myelination of pathways surrounding the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) following stimulation near the theta rhythm (4–8 Hz), and evidence that this change in connectivity reduced behavioral anxiety. We cannot use the optogenetic methods with humans that were used in our mouse studies. This paper examines whether it is possible to enhance intrinsic theta amplitudes in humans using less invasive methods. The first experiment compares electrical, auditory and biofeedback as methods for increasing intrinsic theta rhythm amplitudes in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC). These methods are used alone or in conjunction with a task designed to activate the same area. The results favor using electrical stimulation in conjunction with a task targeting this region. Stimulating the ACC increases intrinsic theta more in this area than in a control area distant from the site of stimulation, suggesting some degree of localization of the stimulation. In Experiment 2, we employed electrical stimulation with the electrodes common to each person, or with electrodes selected from an individual head model. We targeted the ACC or Motor Cortex (PMC). At baseline, intrinsic theta is higher in the ACC than the PMC. In both areas, theta can be increased in amplitude by electrical stimulation plus task. In the PMC, theta levels during stimulation plus task are not significantly higher than during task alone. There is no significant difference between generic and individual electrodes. We discuss steps needed to determine whether we can use the electrical stimulation + task to improve the connectivity of white matter in different brain areas.

    Citation: Pascale Voelker, Ashley N Parker, Phan Luu, Colin Davey, Mary K Rothbart, Michael I Posner. Increasing the amplitude of intrinsic theta in the human brain[J]. AIMS Neuroscience, 2020, 7(4): 418-437. doi: 10.3934/Neuroscience.2020026

    Related Papers:

  • In a mouse study we found increased myelination of pathways surrounding the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) following stimulation near the theta rhythm (4–8 Hz), and evidence that this change in connectivity reduced behavioral anxiety. We cannot use the optogenetic methods with humans that were used in our mouse studies. This paper examines whether it is possible to enhance intrinsic theta amplitudes in humans using less invasive methods. The first experiment compares electrical, auditory and biofeedback as methods for increasing intrinsic theta rhythm amplitudes in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC). These methods are used alone or in conjunction with a task designed to activate the same area. The results favor using electrical stimulation in conjunction with a task targeting this region. Stimulating the ACC increases intrinsic theta more in this area than in a control area distant from the site of stimulation, suggesting some degree of localization of the stimulation. In Experiment 2, we employed electrical stimulation with the electrodes common to each person, or with electrodes selected from an individual head model. We targeted the ACC or Motor Cortex (PMC). At baseline, intrinsic theta is higher in the ACC than the PMC. In both areas, theta can be increased in amplitude by electrical stimulation plus task. In the PMC, theta levels during stimulation plus task are not significantly higher than during task alone. There is no significant difference between generic and individual electrodes. We discuss steps needed to determine whether we can use the electrical stimulation + task to improve the connectivity of white matter in different brain areas.


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    Acknowledgment



    We would like to thank Don Tucker and Amanda Gunn for their assistance and support in this project.

    Funding



    This research was supported by ONR grant N00014-19-1-2015 and N00014-15-1-2148 to the University of Oregon.

    Conflict of interest



    The apparatus and laboratory used in these studies were contributed by EGI (now Phillips-EGI). One of the authors was a former employee of EGI. Members of the EGI staff including Don Tucker and Amanda Gunn advised and helped in the studies. It is understood by all parties that the design and analysis of these studies were under the direction of Dr.Voelker and Posner and that the results would be freely available to all.

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