Effects of High-Definition and Conventional Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation on Motor Learning in Children.

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Effects of High-Definition and Conventional Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation on Motor Learning in Children.

Front Neurosci. 2018;12:787

Authors: Cole L, Giuffre A, Ciechanski P, Carlson HL, Zewdie E, Kuo HC, Kirton A

Abstract
Background: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can improve motor learning in children. High-definition approaches (HD-tDCS) have not been examined in children. Objectives/Hypothesis: We hypothesized that primary motor cortex HD-tDCS would enhance motor learning but be inferior to tDCS in children. Methods: Twenty-four children were recruited for a randomized, sham-controlled, double-blinded interventional trial (NCT03193580, clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03193580) to receive (1) right hemisphere (contralateral) primary motor cortex (M1) 1 mA anodal conventional 1 × 1 tDCS (tDCS), (2) right M1 1 mA anodal 4 × 1 HD-tDCS (HD-tDCS), or (3) sham. Over five consecutive days, participants trained their left hand using the Purdue Pegboard Test (PPTL). The Jebsen-Taylor Test, Serial Reaction Time Task, and right hand and bimanual PPT were also tested at baseline, post-training, and 6-week retention time (RT). Results: Both the tDCS and HD-tDCS groups demonstrated enhanced motor learning compared to sham with effects maintained at 6 weeks. Effect sizes were moderate-to-large for tDCS and HD-tDCS groups at the end of day 4 (Cohen’s d tDCS = 0.960, HD-tDCS = 0.766) and day 5 (tDCS = 0.655, HD-tDCS = 0.851). Enhanced motor learning effects were also seen in the untrained hand. HD-tDCS was well tolerated and safe with no adverse effects. Conclusion: HD-tDCS and tDCS can enhance motor learning in children. Further exploration is indicated to advance rehabilitation therapies for children with motor disabilities such as cerebral palsy. Clinical Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov, identifier NCT03193580.

PMID: 30429768 [PubMed]

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