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Transcranial direct current stimulation improves the QT variability index and autonomic cardiac control in healthy subjects older than 60 years

Authors Piccirillo G, Ottaviani C, Fiorucci C, Petrocchi N, Moscucci F, Di Iorio C, Mastropietri F, Parrotta I, Pascucci M, Magrì D

Received 1 July 2016

Accepted for publication 26 August 2016

Published 16 November 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 1687—1695


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Gianfranco Piccirillo,1 Cristina Ottaviani,2 Claudia Fiorucci,1 Nicola Petrocchi,2 Federica Moscucci,1 Claudia Di Iorio,1 Fabiola Mastropietri,1 Ilaria Parrotta,1 Matteo Pascucci,1 Damiano Magrì3

1Department of Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Nephrological, Anestesiological and Geriatric Sciences, “Sapienza” University, 2Neuroimaging Laboratory, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, 3Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University of Rome “Sapienza”, Rome, Italy

Background: Noninvasive brain stimulation technique is an interesting tool to investigate the causal relation between cortical functioning and autonomic nervous system (ANS) responses.
The objective of this report is to evaluate whether anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the temporal cortex influences short-period temporal ventricular repolarization dispersion and cardiovascular ANS control in elderly subjects.
Subjects and methods:
In 50 healthy subjects (29 subjects younger than 60 years and 21 subjects older than 60 years) matched for gender, short-period RR and systolic blood pressure spectral variability, QT variability index (QTVI), and noninvasive hemodynamic data were obtained during anodal tDCS or sham stimulation.
Results: In the older group, the QTVI, low-frequency (LF) power expressed in normalized units, the ratio between LF and high-frequency (HF) power, and systemic peripheral resistances decreased, whereas HF power expressed in normalized units and α HF power increased during the active compared to the sham condition (P<0.05).
In healthy subjects older than 60 years, tDCS elicits cardiovascular and autonomic changes. Particularly, it improves temporal ventricular repolarization dispersion, reduces sinus sympathetic activity and systemic peripheral resistance, and increases vagal sinus activity and baroreflex sensitivity.

transcranial direct current stimulation, QT variability, heart rate variability, autonomic nervous system, aging

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