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Transcranial direct current stimulation with functional magnetic resonance imaging: a detailed validation and operational guide [version 2; peer review: 1 approved, 2 approved with reservations]

Nardo, Davide; Creasey, Megan; Negus, Clive; Pappa, Katerina; Aghaeifar, Ali; Reid, Alphonso; Josephs, Oliver; ... Crinion, Jenny T; + view all (2023) Transcranial direct current stimulation with functional magnetic resonance imaging: a detailed validation and operational guide [version 2; peer review: 1 approved, 2 approved with reservations]. Wellcome Open Research , 6 p. 143. 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16679.2. Green open access

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Abstract

Introduction: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique used to modulate human brain and behavioural function in both research and clinical interventions. The combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with tDCS enables researchers to directly test causal contributions of stimulated brain regions, answering questions about the physiology and neural mechanisms underlying behaviour. Despite the promise of the technique, advances have been hampered by technical challenges and methodological variability between studies, confounding comparability/replicability. Methods: Here tDCS-fMRI at 3T was developed for a series of experiments investigating language recovery after stroke. To validate the method, one healthy volunteer completed an fMRI paradigm with three conditions: No-tDCS, Sham-tDCS, Anodal-tDCS. MR data were analysed with region-of-interest (ROI) analyses of the electrodes and reference site. Results: Quality assessment indicated no visible signal dropouts or distortions in the brain introduced by the tDCS equipment. After modelling scanner drift, motion-related variance, and temporal autocorrelation, we found that functional MR sensitivity was not degraded or adversely affected by the tDCS set-up and stimulation protocol across conditions in grey matter and in the three ROIs. Discussion: Key safety factors and risk mitigation strategies that must be taken into consideration when integrating tDCS into an fMRI environment are outlined. To obtain reliable results, we provide practical solutions to technical challenges and complications of the method. It is hoped that sharing these data and Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) will promote methodological replication in future studies, enhancing the quality of tDCS-fMRI application, and improve the reliability of scientific results in this field. Conclusions: Our method and data provide a technically safe, reliable tDCS-fMRI procedure to obtain high quality MR data. The detailed framework of the SOP systematically reports the technical and procedural elements of our tDCS-fMRI approach, which can be adopted and prove useful in future studies.

Type: Article
Title: Transcranial direct current stimulation with functional magnetic resonance imaging: a detailed validation and operational guide [version 2; peer review: 1 approved, 2 approved with reservations]
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16679.2
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16679.2
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Transcranial direct current stimulation, transcranial electrical brain stimulation, fMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging, standard operating procedure, safety factors, technical challenges, implementation guide
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10167980
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