IEEE CME 2012 Conference

Plenary Talk 2

Non-invasive brain stimulation with transcranial direct currents (tDCS): basics and functional effects

Michael A. Nitsche, M.D.
Laboratory of Systemic Neurosciences
Department of Clinical Neurophysiology,
Goettingen, Germany

Transcranial direct current stimulation is a non-invasive brain stimulation tool suitable to modulate cortical excitability acutely and for longer durations. Whereas the primary effect is a shift of resting membrane potential, the after-effects of stimulation resemble mechanisms of synaptic plasticity. Its plasticity-inducing features make it an attractive tool to modulate cognitive functions which are associated with dynamic alterations of cerebral connectivity. Moreover, a multitude of neuropsychiatric diseases is associated with pathological alterations of neuroplasticity. Also here tDCS is a potential attractive adjunctive intervention. In this talk, an introduction will be given about basic physiological mechanisms of tDCS, and functional effects in health and disease. Finally, strategies to optimize the efficacy of tDCS will be discussed.

Michael A. Nitsche is Associate Professor at the department of Clinical Neurophysiology of the Georg-August-University, Goettingen. He is the head of the laboratory of Systemic Neurosciences, and a leading expert in plasticity research in humans, including non-invasive brain stimulation, neuropsychopharmacology, and cognition. He received grants from various funding organizations, including the German Research Foundation. He published more than 100 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, and is member of the editorial board of The Journal of Neuroscience, Clinical Neurophysiology, and Restaurative Neurology and Neurosciences. He received the Alois Kornmィケller Award by the German Society of Clinical Neurophysiology, and the GESET Award by the German society of Electrostimulation and Electrotherapy for his work on non-imvasive brain stimulation in humans.