Enhancement of working memory and task-related oscillatory activity following intermittent theta burst stimulation in healthy controls

Kate E. Hoy, Neil Bailey, Marco Michael, Bernadette Fitzgibbon, Nigel C. Rogasch, Takashi Saeki, Paul B. Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Noninvasive brain stimulation is increasingly being investigated for the enhancement of cognition, yet current approaches appear to be limited in their degree and duration of effects. The majority of studies to date have delivered stimulation in "standard" ways (i.e., anodal transcranial direct current stimulation or high-frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation). Specialized forms of stimulation, such as theta burst stimulation (TBS), which more closely mimic the brains natural firing patterns may have greater effects on cognitive performance. We report here the findings from the first-ever investigation into the persistent cognitive and electrophysiological effects of intermittent TBS (iTBS) delivered to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In 19 healthy controls, active iTBS significantly improved performance on an assessment of working memory when compared with sham stimulation across a period of 40 min post stimulation. The behavioral findings were accompanied by increases in task-related fronto-parietal theta sychronization and parietal gamma band power. These results have implications for the role of more specialized stimulation approaches in neuromodulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4563-4573
Number of pages11
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortical oscillations
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Theta burst stimulation
  • Working memo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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