- We review investigations of whether tDCS can facilitate motor skill learning and adaptation.
- We identify several caveats in the existing literature and propose solutions for addressing these.
- Open Science efforts will improve standardization, reproducibility and quality of future research.
Posts Tagged memory
Having a Vagus Nerve Stimulator implanted can be a tough decision. Is it right for you? Will it work? What are the side effects and consequences?
I did some research and got the low-down on what it is, how it works and some interesting statistics. (If you are already acquainted with the VNS and are on the fence, you might want to just skip down to risks and benefits sections.)
How it works
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) has been used to treat more than 30,000 epilepsy patients worldwide. It’s designed to prevent or interrupt seizures or electrical disturbances in the brain for people with hard to control seizures. Used in conjunction with anti-seizure medications, the VNS uses electrical pulses that are delivered to the vagus nerve in the neck and travel up into the brain.
The good news is that the vagus nerve has very few pain fibers, so it’s…
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How does brain injury affect memory? Learn about memory impairment following brain injury in this video featuring NeuroRestorative’s Tori Harding. Following a brain injury, the deeply embedded and long-term memories usually remain intact while short-term memory may significantly be affected. Learn about the three memory system areas and strategies that can help a survivor improve their memory.
[Abstract] Effects of tDCS on motor learning and memory formation: a consensus and critical position paper – Clinical Neurophysiology
Motor skills are required for activities of daily living. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied in association with motor skill learning has been investigated as a tool for enhancing training effects in health and disease. Here, we review the published literature investigating whether tDCS can facilitate the acquisition, retention or adaptation of motor skills. Work in multiple laboratories is underway to develop a mechanistic understanding of tDCS effects on different forms of learning and to optimize stimulation protocols. Efforts are required to improve reproducibility and standardization. Overall, reproducibility remains to be fully tested, effect sizes with present techniques vary over a wide range, and the basis of observed inter-individual variability in tDCS effects is incompletely understood. It is recommended that future studies explicitly state in the Methods the exploratory (hypothesis-generating) or hypothesis-driven (confirmatory) nature of the experimental designs. General research practices could be improved with prospective pre-registration of hypothesis-based investigations, more emphasis on the detailed description of methods (including all pertinent details to enable future modeling of induced current and experimental replication), and use of post-publication open data repositories. A checklist is proposed for reporting tDCS investigations in a way that can improve efforts to assess reproducibility.
[BROSHURE] Traumatic Brain Injury—What College Disability Specialists and Educators Should Know about Executive Functions
The four-page guide defines executive functions and how they are affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI), and describes the unique challenges that students with TBI face in the college environment. The guide also offers specific academic strategies that may be helpful for deficits in executive function. The guide was developed in collaboration with Chapman University.
Identifying Behavior Problems
Head injury survivors may experience a range of neuro psychological problems following a traumatic brain injury. Depending on the part of the brain affected and the severity of the injury, the result on any one individual can vary greatly. Personality changes, memory and judgement deficits, lack of impulse control, and poor concentration are all common. Behavioral changes can be stressful for families and caregivers who must learn to adapt their communication techniques, established relationships, and expectations of what the impaired person can or cannot do.In some cases extended cognitive and behavioral rehabilitation in a residential or outpatient setting will be necessary to regain certain skills. A neuropsychologist also may be helpful in assessing cognitive deficits. However, over the long term both the survivor and any involved family members will need to explore what combination of strategies work best to improve the functional and behavioral skills of the impaired individual.
Even a person who makes a “good” recovery may go through some personality changes. Family members must be careful to avoid always comparing the impaired person with the way he/she “used to be.” Personality changes are often an exaggeration of the person’s pre-injury personality in which personality traits become intensified. Some changes can be quite striking. It may be, for example, the head injury survivor used to be easy going, energetic, and thoughtful and now seems easily angered, self-absorbed, and unable to show enthusiasm for anything. Nonetheless, try not to criticize or make fun of the impaired person’s deficits. This is sure to make the person feel frustrated, angry, or embarrassed.
In the United States more than 700,000 people suffer a stroke each year and approximately two-thirds of these individuals survive and require rehabilitation. The goals of rehabilitation are to help survivors become as independent as possible and to attain the best possible quality of life. Even though rehabilitation does not “cure” the effects of stroke in that it does not reverse brain damage, rehabilitation can substantially help people achieve the best possible long-term outcome.
What is post-stroke rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation helps stroke survivors relearn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged. For example, these skills can include coordinating leg movements in order to walk or carrying out the steps involved in any complex activity. Rehabilitation also teaches survivors new ways of performing tasks to circumvent or compen sate for any residual disabilities. Individuals may need to learn how to bathe and dress using only one hand, or how to communicate effectively when their ability to use language has been compromised. There is a strong consensus among rehabilitation experts that the most important element in any rehabilitation program is carefully directed, well-focused, repetitive practice—the same kind of practice used by all people when they learn a new skill, such as playing the piano or pitching a baseball.
[ARTICLE] Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation of Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex of Major Depression: Improving Visual Working Memory, Reducing Depressive Symptoms – Full Text PDF
Recent studies on major depression (MD) have used noninvasive brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to improve impaired emotion and cognition in MD. However, such experiments have yielded mixed results, specifically with respect to cognition in MD.
This study aimed to investigate whether anodal and cathodal tDCS applied over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) would significantly improve visual working memory and reduce depressive symptoms in patients with MD.
Thirty patients with major depression (n = 30) were randomly assigned to receive either experimental (active) or control (sham) tDCS. To measure cognitive functions, the participants underwent a series of visual memory neuropsychological tasks; and to measure depression symptoms, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and Hamilton Depression Scale (HDRS) were used. The parameters of active tDCS included 2 mA for 20 min per day for 10 consecutive days, anode over the left DLPFC (F3), cathode over the right DLPFC (F4) region.
After 10 sessions of anodal and cathodal tDCS, patients showed significantly improved performance in visual working memory tasks. The same results were observed for depression symptoms. This study showed that anodal tDCS over left DLPFC, concurrently with cathodal tDCS over right DLPFC, improved cognitive impairment (specifically visual working memory), as well as reduced depressive symptoms in patients with MD. This finding provides evidence that supports effectiveness of a specific montage of tDCS to improve impaired cognition in MD, specifically in visual working memory.
The idea of playing a game to make you sharper seems like a no-brainer. That’s the thinking behind a billion-dollar industry selling brain training games and programs designed to boost cognitive ability.
But an investigation by CBC’s Marketplace reveals that brain training games such as Lumosity may not make your brain perform better in everyday life.
Brain training games, such as Lumosity, are a billion-dollar industry. Many people are worried about maintaining their brain health and want to prevent a decline in their mental abilities. (CBC)
Almost 15 per cent of Canadians over the age of 65 are affected by some kind of dementia. And many people of all ages are worried about maintaining their brain health and possibly preventing a decline in their mental abilities.
“I don’t think there’s anything to say that you can train your brain to be cognitively better in the way that we know that we can train our bodies to be physically better,” neuroscientist Adrian Owen told Marketplace co-host Tom Harrington.
- CBC Marketplace: Mind Games
- Dementia patients sold unproven ‘brainwave optimization’
To test how effective the games are at improving cognitive function, Marketplace partnered with Owen, who holds the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University.