Contrasting effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on central and peripheral visual fields

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Experimental Brain Research
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Costa T.L.
Gualtieri M.
Barboni M.T.S.
Katayama R.K.
Boggio P.S.
Ventura D.F.
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© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.Recent research suggested that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can affect visual processing and that it can be useful in visual rehabilitation. Nevertheless, there are still few investigations on the subject. tDCS selectivity and the extent of its outcomes on visual perception are still to be assessed. Here, we investigate whether central and peripheral visual fields are equally affected by tDCS. We also tried to reproduce a previous work that has evaluated tDCS effects on the central visual field only (Kraft et al. 207:283–290, 2010). Fifteen healthy subjects participated in this randomized repeated-measure design study and received 1.5-mA anodal, cathodal and sham stimulation in different sessions, while performing 10-2 and 60-4 protocols in an automated perimeter. Anodal tDCS significantly decreased thresholds, but was limited to the most eccentric regions of the visual field measured (60°). This suggests that tDCS might be used for rehabilitation of peripheral visual field losses. We did not replicate the excitatory tDCS effect in the central visual field as previously reported by another group. Instead, we observed a trend toward an inhibitory (yet not statistically significant) effect of anodal tDCS on the central field. This might be explained by methodological differences. These results highlight that although tDCS is a technique with a low focality in the spatial domain, its effects might be highly focal in a functional domain. When taken together with previous findings, this also suggests that tDCS may have a differential effect on different retinotopic areas in the brain.
Assuntos Scopus
Adult , Analysis of Variance , Female , Humans , Male , Single-Blind Method , Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation , Visual Field Tests , Visual Fields , Young Adult
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