No aftereffects of high current density 10 Hz and 20 Hz tACS on sensorimotor alpha and beta oscillations

Louis Philippe Lafleur, Audrey Murray, Manon Desforges, Kevin Pacheco-Barrios, Felipe Fregni, Sara Tremblay, Dave Saint-Amour, Jean François Lepage, Hugo Théoret

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Application of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) is thought to modulate ongoing brain oscillations in a frequency-dependent manner. However, recent studies report various and sometimes inconsistent results regarding its capacity to induce changes in cortical activity beyond the stimulation period. Here, thirty healthy volunteers participated in a randomized, cross-over, sham-controlled, double-blind study using EEG to measure the offline effects of tACS on alpha and beta power. Sham and high current density tACS (1 mA; 10 Hz and 20 Hz; 0.32 mA/cm2) were applied for 20 min over bilateral sensorimotor areas and EEG was recorded at rest before and after stimulation for 20 min. Bilateral tACS was not associated with significant changes in local alpha and beta power frequencies at stimulation sites (C3 and C4 electrodes). Overall, the present results fail to provide evidence that bilateral tACS with high current density applied over sensorimotor regions at 10 and 20 Hz reliably modulates offline brain oscillation power at the stimulation site. These results may have implications for the design and implementation of future protocols aiming to induce sustained changes in brain activity, including in clinical populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21416
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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