Title: Task-specific effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on motor learning
Authors: Saucedo Marquez, Cinthia Maria ×
Zhang, Xue
Swinnen, Stephan
Meesen, Raf
Wenderoth, Nici #
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
Series Title: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience vol:7 pages:333
Article number: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00333
Abstract: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a relatively new non-invasive brain stimulation technique that modulates neural processes. When applied to the human primary motor cortex (M1), tDCS has beneficial effects on motor skill learning and consolidation in healthy controls and in patients. However, it remains unclear whether tDCS improves motor learning in a general manner or whether these effects depend on which motor task is acquired. Here we compare whether the effect of tDCS differs when the same individual acquires (1) a Sequential Finger Tapping Task (SEQTAP) and (2) a Visual Isometric Pinch Force Task (FORCE). Both tasks have been shown to be sensitive to tDCS applied over M1, however, the underlying processes mediating learning and memory formation might benefit differently from anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (anodal-tDCS). Thirty healthy subjects were randomly assigned to an anodal-tDCS group or sham-group. Using a double-blind, sham-controlled cross-over design, tDCS was applied over M1 while subjects acquired each of the motor tasks over three consecutive days, with the order being randomized across subjects. We found that anodal-tDCS affected each task differently: the SEQTAP task benefited from anodal-tDCS during learning, whereas the FORCE task showed improvements only at retention. These findings suggest that anodal-tDCS applied over M1 appears to have a task-dependent effect on learning and memory formation.
ISSN: 1662-5161
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Movement Control & Neuroplasticity Research Group
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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