Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Alternating current


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a non-invasive neuromodulation technique inducing prolonged brain excitability changes and promoting cerebral plasticity, is a promising option for neurorehabilitation. Here, we review progress in research on tDCS and language functions and on the potential role of tDCS in the treatment of post-stroke aphasia. Currently available data suggest that tDCS over language-related brain areas can modulate linguistic abilities in healthy individuals and can improve language performance in patients with aphasia. Whether the results obtained in experimental conditions are functionally important for the quality of life of patients and their caregivers remains unclear. Despite the fact that important variables are yet to be determined, tDCS combined with rehabilitation techniques seems a promising therapeutic option for aphasia.

Concepts: Medicine, Electricity, Electrochemistry, Traumatic brain injury, Linguistics, Alternating current, Transcranial direct current stimulation, Broca's area


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a promising tool for cognitive enhancement and neurorehabilitation in clinical disorders in both cognitive and clinical domains (e.g., chronic pain, tinnitus). Here we suggest the potential role of tDCS in modulating cortical excitation/inhibition (E/I) balance and thereby inducing improvements. We suggest that part of the mechanism of action of tDCS can be explained by non-invasive modulations of the E/I balance.

Concepts: Electricity, Electrochemistry, Pain, Direct current, Alternating current, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Chronic pain, Transcranial direct current stimulation


Current standardized treatments for cognitive impairment in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder remain limited and their efficacy restricted. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a promising tool for enhancing cognitive performance in several neuropsychiatric disorders. Nevertheless, the effects of tDCS in reducing cognitive impairment in patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have not yet been investigated.

Concepts: Electricity, Electrochemistry, Educational psychology, Alternating current, Transcranial direct current stimulation


Vision loss after optic neuropathy is considered irreversible. Here, repetitive transorbital alternating current stimulation (rtACS) was applied in partially blind patients with the goal of activating their residual vision.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Electricity, Electromagnetic radiation, Electric current, Glaucoma, Ophthalmology, Alternating current, Optic nerve


Cracks in solid-state materials are typically irreversible. Here we report electrically reversible opening and closing of nanoscale cracks in an intermetallic thin film grown on a ferroelectric substrate driven by a small electric field (~0.83 kV/cm). Accordingly, a nonvolatile colossal electroresistance on-off ratio of more than 108 is measured across the cracks in the intermetallic film at room temperature. Cracks are easily formed with low-frequency voltage cycling and remain stable when the device is operated at high frequency, which offers intriguing potential for next-generation high-frequency memory applications. Moreover, endurance testing demonstrates that the opening and closing of such cracks can reach over 107 cycles under 10-μs pulses, without catastrophic failure of the film.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Electric charge, Michael Faraday, Electric potential, Direct current, Alternating current, Faraday's law of induction


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been used to enhance endurance performance but its precise mechanisms and effects remain unknown.

Concepts: Electricity, Electrochemistry, Direct current, Alternating current, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Transcranial direct current stimulation


Recently, growing interest emerged in the enhancement of human potential by means of non-invasive brain stimulation. In particular, anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (atDCS) has been shown to exert beneficial effects on motor and higher cognitive functions. However, the majority of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) studies have assessed effects of single stimulation sessions that are mediated by transient neural modulation. Studies assessing the impact of multiple stimulation sessions on learning that may induce long-lasting behavioural and neural changes are scarce and have not yet been accomplished in the language domain in healthy individuals.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Electricity, Cognition, Perception, Alternating current, Transcranial magnetic stimulation, Transcranial direct current stimulation


Patterning of nanowires in a controllable, tunable manner is important for the fabrication of functional nanodevices. Here we present a simple approach for tunable nanowire patterning using standing surface acoustic waves (SSAW). This technique allows for the construction of large-scale nanowire arrays with well-controlled patterning geometry and spacing within 5 seconds. In this approach, SSAWs were generated by interdigital transducers (IDTs), which induced a periodic alternating current (AC) electric field on the piezoelectric substrate and consequently patterned metallic nanowires in suspension. The patterns could be deposited onto the substrate after the liquid evaporated. By controlling the distribution of the SSAW field, metallic nanowires were assembled into different patterns including parallel and perpendicular arrays. The spacing of the nanowire arrays could be tuned by controlling the frequency of the surface acoustic waves. Additionally, we observed 3D spark-shape nanowire patterns in the SSAW field. The SSAW-based nanowire-patterning technique presented here possesses several advantages over alternative patterning approaches, including high versatility, tunability, and efficiency, making it promising for device applications.

Concepts: Electricity, Quantum mechanics, Electromagnetic radiation, Alternating current, Pattern, Nanoelectronics, AC power, Surface acoustic wave


Electromagnetic noise is emitted everywhere humans use electronic devices. For decades, it has been hotly debated whether man-made electric and magnetic fields affect biological processes, including human health. So far, no putative effect of anthropogenic electromagnetic noise at intensities below the guidelines adopted by the World Health Organization has withstood the test of independent replication under truly blinded experimental conditions. No effect has therefore been widely accepted as scientifically proven. Here we show that migratory birds are unable to use their magnetic compass in the presence of urban electromagnetic noise. When European robins, Erithacus rubecula, were exposed to the background electromagnetic noise present in unscreened wooden huts at the University of Oldenburg campus, they could not orient using their magnetic compass. Their magnetic orientation capabilities reappeared in electrically grounded, aluminium-screened huts, which attenuated electromagnetic noise in the frequency range from 50 kHz to 5 MHz by approximately two orders of magnitude. When the grounding was removed or when broadband electromagnetic noise was deliberately generated inside the screened and grounded huts, the birds again lost their magnetic orientation capabilities. The disruptive effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields is not confined to a narrow frequency band and birds tested far from sources of electromagnetic noise required no screening to orient with their magnetic compass. These fully double-blinded tests document a reproducible effect of anthropogenic electromagnetic noise on the behaviour of an intact vertebrate.

Concepts: Scientific method, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Bird, Frequency, Alternating current, Hertz, Sound


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) modulates cortical excitability thereby influencing behavior and learning. While previous studies focused on tDCS after-effects, limited information about “online” tDCS effects is available. This in turn is an important prerequisite to better characterize and/or optimize tDCS effects. Here, we aimed to explore the feasibility of recording low-artifact somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) during tDCS using a novel ring electrode setup. We recorded SEP before, during and after 10min of anodal or sham tDCS using a full-band direct current (DC) EEG system in a total number of 3 subjects. SEPs were recorded in the bore of the tDCS ring electrode. Using this approach, no tDCS-induced artifacts could be observed after the application of a standard EEG filter. This new setup might help to better characterize how tDCS alters evoked brain responses thus providing novel insight into underlying physiological effects during stimulation.

Concepts: Electricity, Electrochemistry, Electroencephalography, Evoked potential, Direct current, Alternating current, Transcranial direct current stimulation, DC offset