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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Working memory, the ability to hold items in memory stores for further manipulation, is a higher order cognitive process that supports many aspects of daily life. Childhood trauma has been associated with altered cognitive development including particular deficits in verbal working memory (VWM), but the neural underpinnings remain poorly understood. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies of VWM have reliably shown decreased alpha activity in left-lateralized language regions during encoding, and increased alpha activity in parieto-occipital cortices during the maintenance phase. In this study, we examined whether childhood trauma affects behavioral performance and the oscillatory dynamics serving VWM using MEG in a cohort of 9- to 15-year-old youth. All participants completed a modified version of the UCLA Trauma History Profile and then performed a VWM task during MEG. Our findings indicated a sex-by-age-by-trauma three-way interaction, whereby younger females experiencing higher levels of trauma had the lowest d’ accuracy scores and the strongest positive correlations with age (i.e. older performed better). Likewise, females with higher levels of childhood trauma exhibited altered age-related alpha changes during the maintenance phase within the right temporal and parietal cortices. These findings suggest that trauma exposure may alter the developmental trajectory of neural oscillations serving VWM processing inmore »a sex-specific way.« less
  3. Abstract

    Recent studies have examined the effects of conventional transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on working memory (WM) performance, but this method has relatively low spatial precision and generally involves a reference electrode that complicates interpretation. Herein, we report a repeated-measures crossover study of 25 healthy adults who underwent multielectrode tDCS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), right DLPFC, or sham in 3 separate visits. Shortly after each stimulation session, participants performed a verbal WM (VWM) task during magnetoencephalography, and the resulting data were examined in the time–frequency domain and imaged using a beamformer. We found that after left DLPFC stimulation, participants exhibited stronger responses across a network of left-lateralized cortical areas, including the supramarginal gyrus, prefrontal cortex, inferior frontal gyrus, and cuneus, as well as the right hemispheric homologues of these regions. Importantly, these effects were specific to the alpha-band, which has been previously implicated in VWM processing. Although stimulation condition did not significantly affect performance, stepwise regression revealed a relationship between reaction time and response amplitude in the left precuneus and supramarginal gyrus. These findings suggest that multielectrode tDCS targeting the left DLPFC affects the neural dynamics underlying offline VWM processing, including utilization of a more extensivemore »bilateral cortical network.

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