Functions of the human brain

Diagram of The Human Brain

In this Special Topic, we highlight how newly emerging techniques for non-invasive manipulation of the human brain, combined with simultaneous recordings of neural activity, contribute to the understanding of brain functions and neural dynamics in humans. 
A growing body of evidence indicates that the neural dynamics (e.g., oscillations, synchrony) are important in mediating information processing and networking for various functions in the human brain. Most of previous studies on human brain dynamics, however, are neural correlate studies showing correlative relationships between brain functions and patterns of neural dynamics measured by imaging methods such as electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In contrast, there have been some non-invasive approaches such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electric current stimulation (tES i.e., transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS); alternating current stimulation (tACS); random noise stimulation (tRNS)), which can directly manipulate or perturb neural dynamics in the intact human brain. Although the neural correlate approach is a strong tool in human neuroscience, we think manipulative and perturbational approaches have far greater potential to show causal roles of neural dynamics in human brain functions.
There have been technical difficulties with using manipulative methods together with imaging methods. However, due to recent technical developments, it has become possible to use combined methods such as TMS or tES-EEG and TMS or tES-fMRI. We can now directly measure and manipulate neural dynamics and analyze functional consequences to show causal roles of neural dynamics in various brain functions. Moreover, these combined methods can probe brain excitability, plasticity and cortical networking associated with information processing in the intact human brain.
This Special Topic features TMS, tDCS, tACS, tRNS and other manipulative approaches, especially in combination with simultaneous recordings such as EEG, fMRI, PET, NIRS etc. We welcome submissions on any manipulative approaches targeting neural dynamics and brain functions in humans. We particularly welcome studies using multimodal approaches such as TMS-EEG, TMS-fMRI, tES-EEG, tES-fMRI, TMS-MEP(motor evoked potentials), but we also consider TMS or tDCS single-modal studies and entrainment approaches such as steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP) studies. We also welcome methodological, theoretical and modeling papers to understand how these manipulative methods work. We hope that we can showcase cutting-edge studies and demonstrate the huge impact of these approaches on many areas in human neuroscience and clinical applications.

Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be in line with the scope of the specialty and field to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Manuscripts discovered during any stage of peer review to be outside of the scope may be transferred to a suitable section or field, or withdrawn from review.

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