Prof. Andrea Antal

University Medical Center Göttingen
Department of Clinical Neurophysiology

Andrea Antal is a biologist, with 25 years laboratory work experience relating to animal and human clinical studies. She worked in the Mount Sinai Medical Center NY and at the State University in Brooklyn, at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, at the University Szeged, Hungary. Starting from 2001, she has had a pivotal role in building up and coordinating the activities in the visual and the pain laboratories in Göttingen, in the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology. The central topic of her research activities is externally induced neuroplasticity in man.

Transcranial direct current stimulation: when it does work and when it does not

Neuroplasticity became one central topic of neuroscience research in the last decades. Dynamic modifications of neuronal networks are an important substrate for learning and memory formation. Pathological neuroplasticity might be one foundation of numerous central nervous system diseases. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) was developed by our group as a non-invasive tool to induce neuroplasticity in the human cerebral cortex. tDCS as a tool aims to induce prolonged neuronal excitability and activity alterations in the human brain via alterations of the neuronal membrane potential. Accordingly, tDCS in the human is a promising tool in the treatment of diseases that are accompanied by changes of cortical excitability. tDCS seems also to be an efficient tool to alter learning and cognitive performance in healthy humans. The effects have been most extensively tested for the motor cortex stimulation. Unfortunately the results of the different studies are not always consistent. It was frequently observed that the efficacy and direction of the effects depends on the timing of stimulation, electrode arrangement, and task characteristics, besides anatomical and physiological factors. Future studies systematically probing the stimulation parameters and developing new protocols are needed to explore the reasons for the inconsistencies.