A single session of prefrontal cortex transcranial direct current stimulation does not modulate implicit task sequence learning and consolidation.

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A single session of prefrontal cortex transcranial direct current stimulation does not modulate implicit task sequence learning and consolidation.

Brain Stimul. 2017 May – Jun;10(3):567-575

Authors: Savic B, Müri R, Meier B

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is assumed to affect cortical excitability and dependent on the specific stimulation conditions either to increase or decrease learning.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to modulate implicit task sequence learning with tDCS.
METHODS: As cortico-striatal loops are critically involved in implicit task sequence learning, tDCS was applied above the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). In Experiment 1, anodal, cathodal, or sham tDCS was applied before the start of the sequence learning task. In Experiment 2, stimulation was applied during the sequence learning task. Consolidation of learning was assessed after 24 h.
RESULTS: The results of both experiments showed that implicit task sequence learning occurred consistently but it was not modulated by different tDCS conditions. Similarly, consolidation measured after a 24 h-interval including sleep was also not affected by stimulation.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that a single session of DLPFC tDCS is not sufficient to modulate implicit task sequence learning. This study adds to the accumulating evidence that tDCS may not be as effective as originally thought.

PMID: 28089321 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]