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Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Modulates Intrinsic and Evoked EEG Dynamics

Mueller, Jerel and Legon, Wynn and Opitz, Alexander and Sato, Tomokazu F. and Tyler, William J. (2014) Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Modulates Intrinsic and Evoked EEG Dynamics. Brain Stimulation, 7 (6). pp. 900-908. ISSN 1935-861X.

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Background: The integration of EEG recordings and transcranial neuromodulation has provided a useful construct for noninvasively investigating the modification of human brain circuit activity. Recent evidence has demonstrated that focused ultrasound can be targeted through the human skull to affect the amplitude of somatosensory evoked potentials and its associated spectral content. Objective/hypothesis: The present study tests whether focused ultrasound transmitted through the human skull and targeted to somatosensory cortex can affect the phase and phase rate of cortical oscillatory dynamics. Methods: A computational model was developed to gain insight regarding the insertion behavior of ultrasound induced pressure waves in the human head. The instantaneous phase and phase rate of EEG recordings before, during, and after transmission of transcranial focused ultrasound (tFUS) to human somatosensory cortex were examined to explore its effects on phase dynamics. Results: Computational modeling results show the skull effectively reinforces the focusing of tFUS due to curvature of material interfaces. Neurophysiological recordings show that tFUS alters the phase distribution of intrinsic brain activity for beta frequencies, but not gamma. This modulation was accompanied by a change in phase rate of both beta and gamma frequencies. Additionally, tFUS modulated phase distributions in the beta band of early sensory-evoked activity but did not affect late sensory-evoked activity, lending support to the spatial specificity of tFUS for neuromodulation. This spatial specificity was confirmed through an additional experiment where the ultrasound transducer was moved 1 cm laterally from the original cortical target. Conclusions: Focused ultrasonic energy can alter EEG oscillatory dynamics through local mechanical perturbation of discrete cortical circuits.

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Tyler, William J.0000-0002-7758-5022
Additional Information:© 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( Received 28 May 2014; Received in revised form 26 August 2014; Accepted 27 August 2014; Available online 6 September 2014. The authors would like to thank Aaron Barbour and Amanda Williams for help with data collection. WJT is a co-founder of Thync. Inc., a company developing non-invasive brain stimulation methods and devices.
Subject Keywords:Ultrasound; Neuromodulation; Oscillations; Phase; Electroencephalography (EEG)
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141008-082608073
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Official Citation:Jerel Mueller, Wynn Legon, Alexander Opitz, Tomokazu F. Sato, William J. Tyler, Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Modulates Intrinsic and Evoked EEG Dynamics, Brain Stimulation, Volume 7, Issue 6, November–December 2014, Pages 900-908, ISSN 1935-861X, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:50253
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Oct 2014 21:38
Last Modified:20 Feb 2020 22:30

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