Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) Over the Right Primary Motor Cortex (M1) Impairs Implicit Motor Sequence Learning of the Ipsilateral Hand.

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Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) Over the Right Primary Motor Cortex (M1) Impairs Implicit Motor Sequence Learning of the Ipsilateral Hand.

Front Hum Neurosci. 2018;12:289

Authors: Keitel A, Øfsteng H, Krause V, Pollok B

Abstract
Motor sequence learning is associated with the activation of bilateral primary motor cortices (M1). While previous data support the hypothesis that the contralateral M1 is causally involved in the acquisition as well as early consolidation of a motor sequence, the functional significance of the ipsilateral M1 has yet to be solved. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) allows the non-invasive modulation of cortical excitability. Anodal tDCS applied to the left M1 has been shown to facilitate implicit motor sequence learning of the right hand most likely due to increased excitability. The present study aims at characterizing the functional contribution of the ipsilateral (right) M1 on implicit motor sequence learning of the right hand. To this end, 24 healthy, right-handed subjects received anodal and sham tDCS to the right M1 in a counterbalanced order. Stimulation started 8 min prior to training on a variant of the serial reaction time task (SRTT) with the right hand and persists over the entire training period. The SRTT comprised a fixed eight-digit sequence. A random pattern served as control condition. Reaction times were assessed before and at the end of the acquisition (EoA) immediately after training on the SRTT. The analysis revealed significantly faster reaction times of both hands independent of tDCS condition in sequential trials. However, the gain of reaction times was significantly smaller following anodal as compared to sham tDCS. The data suggest that anodal tDCS applied to the right M1 impairs implicit motor sequence learning of both hands. The underlying mechanism likely involves alterations of the interaction between bilateral M1.

PMID: 30072884 [PubMed]

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