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

MPS-Authors
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Kaminski,  Elisabeth
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;
Cerebral Imaging Center, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada;

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Hoff,  Maike
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Institute of General Kinesiology and Athletics Training, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Gundlach,  Christopher
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department of Experimental Psychology and Methods, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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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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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, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Citation

Kaminski, E., Steele, C., Hoff, M., Gundlach, C., Rjosk, V., Sehm, B., et al. (2016). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over primary motor cortex leg area promotes dynamic balance task performance. Clinical Neurophysiology, 127(6), 2455-2462. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2016.03.018.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-11DA-E
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.