EEG-NIRS Based Assessment of Neurovascular Coupling During Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation - a Stroke Case Series


A method for electroencephalography (EEG) - near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) based assessment of neurovascular coupling (NVC) during anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Anodal tDCS modulates cortical neural activity leading to a hemodynamic response, which was used to identify impaired NVC functionality. In this study, the hemodynamic response was estimated with NIRS. NIRS recorded changes in oxy-hemoglobin (HbO2) and deoxy-hemoglobin (Hb) concentrations during anodal tDCS-induced activation of the cortical region located under the electrode and in-between the light sources and detectors. Anodal tDCS-induced alterations in the underlying neuronal current generators were also captured with EEG. Then, a method for the assessment of NVC underlying the site of anodal tDCS was proposed that leverages the Hilbert-Huang Transform. The case series including four chronic (>6 months) ischemic stroke survivors (3 males, 1 female from age 31 to 76) showed non-stationary effects of anodal tDCS on EEG that correlated with the HbO2 response. Here, the initial dip in HbO2 at the beginning of anodal tDCS corresponded with an increase in the log-transformed mean-power of EEG within 0.5Hz-11.25Hz frequency band. The cross-correlation coefficient changed signs but was comparable across subjects during and after anodal tDCS. The log-transformed mean-power of EEG lagged HbO2 response during tDCS but then led post-tDCS. This case series demonstrated changes in the degree of neurovascular coupling to a 0.526 A/m2 square-pulse (0–30 s) of anodal tDCS. The initial dip in HbO2 needs to be carefully investigated in a larger cohort, for example in patients with small vessel disease.

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Research conducted within the context of the Franco-German PHC-PROCOPE 2014 funding. A. Jacob would like to thank German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for supporting her internship in Germany. The help received from the Neuro Rehab Services LLP, India in conducting the clinical study is gratefully acknowledged. This project was further supported by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF, Project EYE-TSS 03IPT605E).

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Correspondence to Anirban Dutta.

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Dutta, A., Jacob, A., Chowdhury, S.R. et al. EEG-NIRS Based Assessment of Neurovascular Coupling During Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation - a Stroke Case Series. J Med Syst 39, 36 (2015).

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  • Neurovascular coupling
  • Electroencephalography
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Hilbert-Huang Transform