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Side effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation biased task performance in a cognitive neuroscience study


Abler, B; Walter, H; Wunderlich, A; Grothe, J; Schönfeldt-Lecuona, C; Spitzer, M; Herwig, U (2005). Side effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation biased task performance in a cognitive neuroscience study. Brain Topography, 17(4):193-196.

Abstract

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is increasingly used as a research tool for functional brain mapping in cognitive neuroscience. Despite being mostly tolerable, side effects of TMS could influence task performance in behavioural TMS studies. In order to test this issue, healthy subjects assessed the discomfort caused by the stimulation during a verbal working memory task. We investigated the relation between subjective disturbance and task performance. Subjects were stimulated during the delay period of a delayed-match-to-sample task above cortical areas that had been identified before to be involved in working memory. Task performance and subjective disturbance due to side effects were monitored. The subjects' grade of discomfort correlated with the error rates: the higher the discomfort, the more errors were made. Conclusively, TMS side effects may bias task performance in cognitive neuroscience studies and may thereby lead to misinterpretation of results. We emphasize the importance of controlling side effects of the stimulation as a source of biasing effects in TMS studies.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is increasingly used as a research tool for functional brain mapping in cognitive neuroscience. Despite being mostly tolerable, side effects of TMS could influence task performance in behavioural TMS studies. In order to test this issue, healthy subjects assessed the discomfort caused by the stimulation during a verbal working memory task. We investigated the relation between subjective disturbance and task performance. Subjects were stimulated during the delay period of a delayed-match-to-sample task above cortical areas that had been identified before to be involved in working memory. Task performance and subjective disturbance due to side effects were monitored. The subjects' grade of discomfort correlated with the error rates: the higher the discomfort, the more errors were made. Conclusively, TMS side effects may bias task performance in cognitive neuroscience studies and may thereby lead to misinterpretation of results. We emphasize the importance of controlling side effects of the stimulation as a source of biasing effects in TMS studies.

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21 citations in Web of Science®
26 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2005
Deposited On:05 Sep 2011 07:10
Last Modified:16 Aug 2016 10:14
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0896-0267
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10548-005-6028-y
PubMed ID:16110769

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