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Augmenting mirror visual feedback-induced performance improvements in older adults

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Hoff,  Maike
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Kaminski,  Elisabeth
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Rjosk,  Viola
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Sehm,  Bernhard
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Steele,  Christopher
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Villringer,  Arno
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Ragert,  Patrick
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Institute of General Kinesiology and Athletics Training, Faculty of Sport Science, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Citation

Hoff, M., Kaminski, E., Rjosk, V., Sehm, B., Steele, C., Villringer, A., et al. (2015). Augmenting mirror visual feedback-induced performance improvements in older adults. European Journal of Neuroscience, 41(11), 1475-1483. doi:10.1111/ejn.12899.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0026-C598-E
Abstract
Previous studies have indicated that age-related behavioral alterations are not irreversible but are subject to amelioration through specific training interventions. Both training paradigms and non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) can be used to modulate age-related brain alterations and thereby influence behavior. It has been shown that mirror visual feedback (MVF) during motor skill training improves performance of the trained and untrained hands in young adults. The question remains of whether MVF also improves motor performance in older adults and how performance improvements can be optimised via NIBS. Here, we sought to determine whether anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) can be used to augment MVF-induced performance improvements in manual dexterity. We found that older adults receiving a-tDCS over the right primary motor cortex (M1) during MVF showed superior performance improvements of the (left) untrained hand relative to sham stimulation. An additional control experiment in participants receiving a-tDCS over the right M1 only (without MVF/motor training of the right hand) revealed no significant behavioral gains in the left (untrained) hand. On the basis of these findings, we propose that combining a-tDCS with MVF might be relevant for future clinical studies that aim to optimise the outcome of neurorehabilitation.