About this Research Topic
Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques have been in existence for a few decades now. These include transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), low intensity transcranial stimulation using static magnetic field (tSMS), direct current (tDCS), alternating current (tACS) and random noise (tRNS), and transcranial focused ultrasound stimulation (tFUS). It has been possible to achieve significant neuromodulation using all the above techniques. Hence, it is conceivable that NIBS techniques have a great potential in various therapeutic and research applications. However, a clear understanding of the mechanisms underlying the effects of NIBS is lacking. A deeper knowledge of these mechanisms is necessary to exploit NIBS techniques to their fullest potential. This can be best achieved by combining NIBS techniques with neurophysiological and/or neuroimaging methods. Such multimodal approaches have shown great promise in understanding the brain function and thereby in improving the diagnosis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.
The aim of this Research Topic is to compile a series of Original Research and Review articles showcasing novel or advancing established combinations of neuroimaging/neurophysiological methods with various NIBS protocols for studying physiological and pathological states of the brain. Specifically, we encourage the contribution of papers covering one or several of the following topics:
1. Multimodal approaches to understanding mechanisms of NIBS:
Many of the underlying physiological mechanisms and effects of NIBS techniques are still poorly understood. Multimodal approaches can foster our understanding of NIBS techniques by providing new vistas on their effects and mechanisms. These may consist of pairing less frequently used recording modalities with NIBS, or novel analysis approaches towards NIBS effects.
2. Individually tailored or closed-loop stimulation:
It is known that NIBS effects are often weak and highly variable. Using neuroimaging/neurophysiological data to design individually tailored and/or closed-loop NIBS protocols (e.g. allowing for state-dependent stimulation of the brain) may substantially increase the effects and reliability of NIBS.
3. Challenges and pitfalls of combining neuroimaging/electrophysiology and NIBS:
Combining neuroimaging or electrophysiology with NIBS can often be challenging due to large artifacts in the acquired signals. In order to allow for valid interpretations of such recordings, problems, pitfalls, and limitations of multimodal approaches need to be openly discussed and acknowledged. Novel recording or analysis strategies may allow to overcome such shortcomings but require careful evaluation.
Together these studies will showcase the current spectrum and potential of multimodal approaches in NIBS as well as their imminent challenges, ideally offering researchers in the field, new perspectives on NIBS and thereby insights for more effective protocols for diagnosis and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Keywords: TMS-EEG, closed-loop stimulation, tACS, tDCS, tFUS, DBS-TMS
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