We examined effects of theta burst stimulation (TBS) applied over two distinct cortical areas (the right inferior frontal gyrus and the left superior parietal lobule) on the Stroop task performance in 20 young healthy subjects. Neural underpinnings of the behavioral effect were tested using fMRI. A single session of intermittent TBS of the left superior parietal lobule induced certain cognitive speed enhancement and significantly increased resting-state connectivity of the dorsal attention network. This is an exploratory study that prompts further research with multiple-session TBS in subjects with cognitive impairment.
This exploratory study showed that single-session iTBS applied over the lSPL tended to enhance the speed of the Stroop task performance in the HYS group via increased connectivity of the DAN, brain areas that are known to be engaged in the task performance. To assess possible iTBS “treatment” effects, it will be necessary to include multiple-session TBS and focus on healthy seniors and patients with early AD/PD. However, the current results obtained in HYS are promising, and a future set of data in various patient groups may provide a deeper understanding of brain plasticity mechanisms and outline new possibilities for improving cognitive functions in patients with distinct neurodegenerative brain diseases.