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Modulation of Cognitive Control Signals in Prefrontal Cortex by Rhythmic Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03828734
Recruitment Status : Recruiting
First Posted : February 4, 2019
Last Update Posted : April 24, 2019
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Brief Summary:

Purpose: In this study, the investigators will provide causal evidence for the role of alpha and theta oscillations in cognitive control.

Participants: Participants must be healthy, between the ages of 18 and 35, right handed, able to provide informed consent, willing to comply with all study procedures, and be available for the duration of the study, speak and understand English.

Procedures: Alpha and theta brain oscillations will be measured and then entrained using frequency specific rhythmic TMS during a retrospective cued cognitive control task.


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Executive Function Device: Alpha TMS Device: Theta TMS Device: Arrhythmic TMS Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

Neural oscillations are proposed to be a mechanism of coordinating information processing across distributed regions of cortex. Different neural oscillations may correspond to different underlying neural computations. Noninvasive brain stimulation allows experimenters to modulate specific neural oscillations by targeting particular frequency bands. By collecting simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG), rhythmic transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been previously demonstrated to entrain neural oscillations at the frequency of stimulation. Furthermore, when the frequency of entrained neural oscillations is matched to the frequency of endogenous activity in a cognitive task, the brain stimulation improves behavioral performance. Therefore, noninvasive brain stimulation is a promising tool for improving cognition by inducing optimal neural activity via externally applied electromagnetic fields; e.g. cognitive control improvements.

Previous evidence has implicated neural activity in the alpha band (8-12 Hz) in information suppression and activity in the theta band (4-7 Hz) in information prioritization. Cognitive control task paradigms have been shown to elicit distinct activity in both of these bands. In this task, the stimuli are lateralized to the right and left visual field during encoding. After a short delay, a cue informs participants which stimuli (right or left) will be tested. Previous evidence found that alpha activity in parietal cortex is generated contralateral to irrelevant stimuli—supporting the role of alpha in information suppression—while theta activity in frontal cortex increases with the number of stimuli to be remembered—supporting the role of theta in information prioritization.

For the current study, the investigators propose to deliver rhythmic trains of TMS in either alpha frequency, theta frequency, or an arrhythmic control to modulate neural processing during a cognitive control task. By collecting simultaneous EEG with TMS, the investigators will be able to measure the entrained oscillations from rhythmic TMS. The goal of this experiment is to enhance the observed theta and alpha activity that is seen with the successful prioritization and suppression of information. To provide causal evidence that parietal cortex generates alpha activity and frontal cortex generates theta activity, the investigators will apply rhythmic TMS stimulation to two scalp locations: the anterior middle frontal gyrus and inferior intraparietal sulcus. By applying alpha frequency, theta frequency, and arrhythmic TMS at each location, the investigators will be able to examine the causal relationship of frontal theta oscillations in information prioritization and parietal alpha oscillations in information suppression.


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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 24 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Basic Science
Official Title: Modulation of Alpha and Theta Oscillations in a Cognitive Control Retrospective Cue Task With Frequency Specific Rhythmic Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Actual Study Start Date : February 13, 2019
Estimated Primary Completion Date : October 2019
Estimated Study Completion Date : October 2019

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: TMS to frontal cortex followed by TMS to parietal cortex
Participants will receive TMS while performing a cognitive control task. In their first stimulation session, the TMS coil will be placed over the frontal cortex on the scalp. In their second session, the TMS coil will be placed over the parietal cortex on the scalp. During every session, subjects receive Alpha TMS, Theta TMS, and Arrhythmic TMS.
Device: Alpha TMS
TMS will be administered at the frequency of each subject's endogenous alpha oscillation (8-12Hz)
Other Name: MagProX100

Device: Theta TMS
TMS will be administered at the frequency of each subject's endogenous theta oscillation (4-7 Hz)
Other Name: MagProX100

Device: Arrhythmic TMS
TMS will be administered arrhythmically; i.e. a sequence of pulses with randomized timing
Other Name: MagProX100

Experimental: TMS to parietal cortex followed by TMS to frontal cortex
Participants will receive TMS while performing a cognitive control task. In their first stimulation session, the TMS coil will be placed over the parietal cortex on the scalp. In their second session, the TMS coil will be placed over the frontal cortex on the scalp. During every session, subjects receive Alpha TMS, Theta TMS, and Arrhythmic TMS.
Device: Alpha TMS
TMS will be administered at the frequency of each subject's endogenous alpha oscillation (8-12Hz)
Other Name: MagProX100

Device: Theta TMS
TMS will be administered at the frequency of each subject's endogenous theta oscillation (4-7 Hz)
Other Name: MagProX100

Device: Arrhythmic TMS
TMS will be administered arrhythmically; i.e. a sequence of pulses with randomized timing
Other Name: MagProX100




Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Mean and standard deviation of TMS compatibility on working memory capacity. [ Time Frame: During completion of 2 cognitive control task sessions, each 1.5 hours long, spaced at least 1 week apart ]
    Subjects make a button press on a keyboard to indicate if the probed items are matched or non-matched to the items held in memory. The investigators will calculate the accuracy for these responses and convert this to Pashler's working memory capacity metric for each condition. Theta oscillations are known to be generated in frontal cortex when cued to the contralateral visual field. Alpha oscillations are known to be generated in parietal cortex when cued to the ipsilateral visual field. When the frequency of TMS to either frontal or parietal cortex is compatible with the endogenous activity, working memory capacity should increase relative to TMS that is incompatible. Therefore, we will report the TMS compatibility effect as the average of "frontal cortex TMS with contralateral cue theta minus alpha" and "parietal cortex TMS with ipsilateral cue alpha minus theta". We will report the mean and standard deviation of the TMS compatibility effect across subjects.

  2. Mean and standard deviation of TMS compatibility on spectral power. [ Time Frame: During completion of 2 cognitive control task sessions, each 1.5 hours long, spaced at least 1 week apart ]
    The electrical activity of the brain is recorded during performance of the task and during brain stimulation. The investigators will perform a Fourier transform on the activity recorded to calculate the spectral power of theta (5-8 hertz) and alpha (8-12 hertz). Theta oscillations are known to be generated in frontal cortex when cued to the contralateral visual field. Alpha oscillations are known to be generated in parietal cortex when cued to the ipsilateral visual field. When the frequency of TMS to either frontal or parietal cortex is compatible with the endogenous activity, spectral power at the stimulation frequency should increase relative to incompatible TMS. Therefore, we will report the TMS compatibility effect as the average of "frontal cortex TMS with contralateral cue theta minus alpha" and "parietal cortex TMS with ipsilateral cue alpha minus theta". We will report the mean and standard deviation of the TMS compatibility effect across subjects.


Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Mean and standard deviation of TMS compatibility on response time. [ Time Frame: During completion of 2 cognitive control task sessions, each 1.5 hours long, spaced at least 1 week apart ]
    Subjects make a button press on a keyboard to indicate if the probe items are matched or non-matched to the items held in memory. The investigators will calculate the response time of this choice as the difference between the time of the button press and presentation of the probe for each condition. Theta oscillations are known to be generated in frontal cortex when cued to the contralateral visual field. Alpha oscillations are known to be generated in parietal cortex when cued to the ipsilateral visual field. When the frequency of TMS to either frontal or parietal cortex is compatible with the endogenous activity, response time should decrease relative to incompatible TMS. Therefore, we will report the TMS compatibility effect as the average of "frontal cortex TMS with contralateral cue theta minus alpha" and "parietal cortex TMS with ipsilateral cue alpha minus theta". We will report the mean and standard deviation of the TMS compatibility effect across subjects.



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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 35 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Healthy
  • Between the ages of 18 and 35
  • Right handed
  • Able to provide informed consent
  • Willing to comply with all study procedures
  • Available for the duration of the study
  • Speak and understand English.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (currently under treatment)
  • Neurological disorders and conditions, including, but not limited to: History of epilepsy Seizures (except childhood febrile seizures) -Dementia
  • History of stroke
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cerebral aneurysm
  • Brain tumors
  • Medical or neurological illness or treatment for a medical disorder that could interfere with study participation (e.g., unstable cardiac disease, HIV/AIDS, malignancy, liver or renal impairment)
  • Prior brain surgery -Any brain devices/implants, including cochlear implants and aneurysm clips -Cardiac pacemaker -Any other implanted electronic device -History of current traumatic brain injury -(For females) Pregnancy or breast feeding -Anything that, in the opinion of the investigator, would place the participant at increased risk or preclude the participant's full compliance with or completion of the study

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT03828734


Contacts
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Contact: Trevor S McPherson, BA, BS 252-305-0312 trevor_mcpherson@med.unc.edu
Contact: Justin Riddle, PhD justin_riddle@med.unc.edu

Locations
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United States, North Carolina
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Recruiting
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States, 27516
Contact: Trevor McPherson, BS, BA       trevor_mcpherson@med.unc.edu   
Contact: Justin Riddle, PhD       justin_riddle@med.unc.edu   
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Investigators
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Principal Investigator: Flavio Frohlich, PhD University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Publications:

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Responsible Party: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03828734     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 18-1789
R01MH111889 ( U.S. NIH Grant/Contract )
First Posted: February 4, 2019    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: April 24, 2019
Last Verified: April 2019

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: Yes
Device Product Not Approved or Cleared by U.S. FDA: No
Product Manufactured in and Exported from the U.S.: No