The effect of cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation during rapid eye-movement sleep on neutral and emotional memory

The effect of cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation during rapid eye-movement sleep on neutral and emotional memory

Article Date: 2018-07-18 (Revised: 2018-08-17)
Authors: Johnson JM, Durrant SJ
PMID Link: 30109059


Journal Information
Title: Royal Society open science
Abbreviation: R Soc Open Sci
Volume: 5
Issue: 7
Date: 2018-07-01
Citation: R Soc Open Sci 2018 Jul;5(7):172353

Abstract

Sleep-dependent memory consolidation has been extensively studied. Neutral declarative memories and serial reaction time task (SRTT) performance can benefit from slow-wave activity, characterized by less than 1 Hz frequency cortical slow oscillations (SO). Emotional memories can benefit from theta activity, characterized by 4-8 Hz frequency cortical oscillations. Applying transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) during sleep entrains specific frequencies to alter sleep architecture. When applying cathodal tDCS (CtDCS), neural inhibition or excitation may depend on the waveform at the applied frequency. A double dissociation was predicted, with CtDCS at SO frequency improving neutral declarative memory and SRTT performance, and theta frequency CtDCS inhibiting negative emotional memory. Participants completed three CtDCS conditions (Theta: 5 Hz, SO: 0.75 Hz and control: sham) and completed an SRTT and word recognition task pre- and post-sleep, comprising emotional and neutral words to assess memory. In line with predictions, CtDCS improved neutral declarative memory when applied at SO frequency. When applied at theta frequency, no negative emotional word memory impairment was found but a positive association was found between post-stimulation theta power and emotional word recognition. SRTT performance was also not altered by either CtDCS frequency. Future studies should investigate overnight theta CtDCS and examine the effects of CtDCS during and after stimulation.

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