Brain stimulation 2015 01 308(3) 567-73 doi 10.1016/j.brs.2015.01.410
Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is often associated with memory deficits. Given the putative role for sleep spindles memory consolidation, spindle generators skewed toward the affected lobe in TLE subjects may be a neurophysiological marker of defective memory. Slow-oscillatory transcranial direct current stimulation (sotDCS) during slow waves sleep (SWS) has previously been shown to enhance sleep-dependent memory consolidation by increasing slow-wave sleep and modulating sleep spindles.
To test if anodal sotDCS over the affected TL prior to a nap affects sleep spindles and whether this improves memory consolidation.
Randomized controlled cross-over study. 12 people with TLE underwent sotDCS (0.75 Hz; 0-250 μV, 30 min) or sham before daytime nap. Declarative verbal and visuospatial learning were tested. Fast and slow spindle signals were recorded by 256-channel EEG during sleep. In both study arms, electrical source imaging (ESI) localized cortical generators. Neuropsychological data were analyzed with general linear model statistics or the Kruskal-Wallis test (P or Z < 0.05), and neurophysiological data tested with the Mann-Whitney t test and binomial distribution test (P or Z < 0.05). RESULTS
An improvement in declarative (P = 0.05) and visuospatial memory performance (P = 0.048) emerged after sotDCS. SotDCS increased slow spindle generators current density (Z = 0.001), with a shift to the anterior cortical areas.
Anodal sotDCS over the affected temporal lobe improves declarative and visuospatial memory performance by modulating slow sleep spindles cortical source generators. SotDCS appears a promising tool for memory rehabilitation in people with TLE.