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Clin Neurophysiol. 2016 Jun;127(6):2455-62. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2016.03.018. Epub 2016 Apr 1.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over primary motor cortex leg area promotes dynamic balance task performance.

Author information

1
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Department of Neurology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.
2
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Department of Neurology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany; Cerebral Imaging Centre, Douglas Mental Health Institute, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
3
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Department of Neurology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany; Institute for General Kinesiology and Exercise Science, Faculty of Sport Science, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
4
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Department of Neurology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany; Department of Experimental Psychology and Methods, Faculty of Psychology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
5
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Department of Neurology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany; Mind and Brain Institute, Charité and Humboldt University, D-10117 Berlin, Germany.
6
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Department of Neurology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany; Institute for General Kinesiology and Exercise Science, Faculty of Sport Science, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany. Electronic address: patrick.ragert@uni-leipzig.de.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of facilitatory anodal tDCS (a-tDCS) applied over the leg area of the primary motor cortex on learning a complex whole-body dynamic balancing task (DBT). We hypothesized that a-tDCS during DBT enhances learning performance compared to sham tDCS (s-tDCS).

METHODS:

In a randomized, parallel design, we applied either a-tDCS (n=13) or s-tDCS (n=13) in a total of 26 young subjects while they perform the DBT. Task performance and error rates were compared between groups. Additionally, we investigated the effect of tDCS on the relationship between performance and kinematic variables capturing different aspects of task execution.

RESULTS:

A-tDCS over M1 leg area promotes balance performance in a DBT relative to s-tDCS, indicated by higher performance and smaller error scores. Furthermore, a-tDCS seems to mediate the relationship between DBT performance and the kinematic variable velocity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings provide novel evidence for the ability of tDCS to improve dynamic balance learning, a fact, particularly important in the context of treating balance and gait disorders.

SIGNIFICANCE:

TDCS facilitates dynamic balance performance by strengthening the inverse relationship of performance and velocity, thus making tDCS one potential technique to improve walking ability or help to prevent falls in patients in the future.

KEYWORDS:

Balance in humans; Kinematics; Non-invasive brain stimulation; Velocity

PMID:
27178865
DOI:
10.1016/j.clinph.2016.03.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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