Brain Sci. 2021 Mar 12 ;11(3). Epub 2021 Mar 12. PMID: 33809386
Auditory Beat Stimulation Modulates Memory-Related Single-Neuron Activity in the Human Medial Temporal Lobe.
Auditory beats are amplitude-modulated signals (monaural beats) or signals that subjectively cause the perception of an amplitude modulation (binaural beats). We investigated the effects of monaural and binaural 5 Hz beat stimulation on neural activity and memory performance in neurosurgical patients performing an associative recognition task. Previously, we had reported that these beat stimulation conditions modulated memory performance in opposite directions. Here, we analyzed data from a patient subgroup, in which microwires were implanted in the amygdala, hippocampus, entorhinal cortex and parahippocampal cortex. We identified neurons responding with firing rate changes to binaural versus monaural 5 Hz beat stimulation. In these neurons, we correlated the differences in firing rates for binaural versus monaural beats to the memory-related differences for remembered versus forgotten items and associations. In the left hemisphere, we detected statistically significant negative correlations between firing rate differences for binaural versus monaural beats and remembered versus forgotten items/associations. Importantly, such negative correlations were also observed between beat stimulation-related firing rate differences in the pre-stimulus window and memory-related firing rate differences in the post-stimulus windows. In line with concepts of homeostatic plasticity, our findings suggest that beat stimulation is linked to memory performance via shifting baseline firing levels.