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Dose-Dependent Effects of Closed-Loop tACS Delivered During Slow-Wave Oscillations on Memory Consolidation

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Journal Article - Open Access

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The University of New Mexico Albuquerque United States

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Sleep is critically important to consolidate information learned throughout the day. Slow-wave sleep SWS serves to consolidate declarative memories, a process previously modulated with open-loop non-invasive electrical stimulation, though not always effectively. These failures to replicate could be explained by the fact that stimulation has only been performed in open-loop, as opposed to closed-loop where phase and frequency of the endogenous slow-wave oscillations SWOs are matched for optimal timing. The current study investigated the effects of closed-loop transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation tACS targeting SWOs during sleep on memory consolidation. 21 participants took part in a three-night, counterbalanced, randomized, single-blind, within-subjects study, investigating performance changes correct rate and F1 score on images in a target detection task over 24 h. During sleep, 1.5 mA closed-loop tACS was delivered in phase over electrodes at F3 and F4 and 180 out of phase over electrodes at bilateral mastoids at the frequency range 0.51.2 Hz and phase of ongoing SWOs for a duration of 5 cycles in each discrete event throughout the night. Data were analyzed in a repeated measures ANOVA framework, and results show that verum stimulation improved post-sleep performance specifically on generalized versions of images used in training at both morning and afternoon tests compared to sham, suggesting the facilitation of schematization of information, but not of rote, veridical recall. We also found a surprising inverted U-shaped dose effect of sleep tACS, which is interpreted in terms of tACS-induced faciliatory and subsequent refractory dynamics of SWO power in scalp EEG. This is the first study showing a selective modulation of long-term memory generalization using a novel closed-loop tACS approach, which holds great potential for both healthy and neuropsychiatric populations.

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  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Psychology

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