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J Neurophysiol. 2012 Jun;107(11):2950-7. doi: 10.1152/jn.00645.2011. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

Modulating locomotor adaptation with cerebellar stimulation.

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  • 1Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Human locomotor adaptation is necessary to maintain flexibility of walking. Several lines of research suggest that the cerebellum plays a critical role in motor adaptation. In this study we investigated the effects of noninvasive stimulation of the cerebellum to enhance locomotor adaptation. We found that anodal cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied during adaptation expedited the adaptive process while cathodal cerebellar tDCS slowed it down, without affecting the rate of de-adaptation of the new locomotor pattern. Interestingly, cerebellar tDCS affected the adaptation rate of spatial but not temporal elements of walking. It may be that spatial and temporal control mechanisms are accessible through different neural circuits. Our results suggest that tDCS could be used as a tool to modulate locomotor training in neurological patients with gait impairments.

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