[Abstract] The effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on motor sequence learning and upper limb function after stroke

Introduction

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a safe and non-invasive brain stimulation technique with the potential to improve upper limb function after stroke. Ipsilesional primary motor cortex (M1) excitability can be increased with anodal tDCS, contralesional M1 excitability can be decreased with cathodal tDCS or both anodal and cathodal tDCS can be used simultaneously on both cortices (bihemispheric). The impact of these different electrode arrangements on the efficacy of tDCS, and whether any of the changes are due to callosal connections between cortices, is unclear.

Objectives

This study aimed to investigate the effect of tDCS electrode arrangement on motor sequence learning and upper limb function in chronic stroke survivors.

Patients and methods

21 stroke survivors (range 3–124 months post-stroke, 34–81 years of age) with upper limb impairment received 20 min of 1 mA tDCS (0.04 mA·cm−2) during performance of a motor sequence learning task which involved movement of a computer mouse with the paretic arm to circular targets on a monitor in a repeating pattern. Four tDCS conditions were studied in a repeated-measures design; (i) anodal to the ipsilesional M1, (ii) cathodal to the contralesional M1, (iii) bihemispheric and (iv) sham. Upper limb function was assessed before and after tDCS, using the Jebsen–Taylor hand function test (JTT). Changes in transcallosal inhibition (TCI) were assessed using transcranial magnetic stimulation (ipsilateral silent period duration).

Results

There was no effect of tDCS condition on performance of the motor sequence learning task. Performance on the JTT improved significantly after unilateral tDCS (anodal or cathodal) compared to sham (p < 0.05), but not after bihemispheric (Fig. 1). There was no effect on TCI (p > 0.5), and no relationship between changes in TCI and upper limb function.

Conclusions

Unilateral, but not bihemispheric, tDCS improves upper limb function. The response to tDCS does not appear to be driven by changes in TCI. These results have implications for the use of tDCS for upper limb rehabilitation.

Source: P244 The effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on motor sequence learning and upper limb function after stroke – Clinical Neurophysiology

Advertisements

, , , , , ,

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: