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Front. Aging Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2018.00335

MOTOR LEARNING IMPROVEMENT REMAINS 3 MONTHS AFTER A MULTISESSION ANODAL TDCS INTERVENTION IN AN AGING POPULATION

 Gaëlle Dumel1, 2*, Marie-Eve Bourassa1, 2, Camille Charlebois-Plante1, Desjardins Martine1, 2,  Julien Doyon3,  Dave Saint-Amour2 and  Louis De Beaumont1, 4*
  • 1Research Center of the Sacré-Coeur Hospital of Montreal, Canada
  • 2Department of Psychology, University of Montréal, Canada
  • 3Unité de neuroimagerie fonctionelle, Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, Canada
  • 4Département de Chirurgie, Université de Montréal, Canada

Healthy aging is associated with decline of motor function that can generate serious consequences on the quality of life and safety. Our studies aim to explore the 3-month effects of a five-day multisession anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) protocol applied over the primary motor cortex (M1) during motor sequence learning in elderly. The present sham-controlled aging study investigated whether tDCS-induced motor improvements previously observed 1 day after the intervention persist beyond 3 months. A total of 37 cognitively-intact aging participants performed 5 consecutive daily 20-minute sessions of the serial-reaction time task (SRTT) concomitant with either anodal (n=18) or sham (n=19) tDCS over M1. All participants performed the Purdue Pegboard Test and transcranial magnetic stimulation measures of cortical excitability were collected before, 1 day after and 3 months after the intervention. The last follow-up session also included the execution of the trained SRTT. The main findings are the demonstration of durable effects of a 5-day anodal tDCS intervention at the trained skill, while the active intervention did not differ from the sham intervention at both the untrained task and on measures of M1-disinhibition. Thus, the current paper revealed for the first time the durability of functional effects of a-tDCS combined with motor training after only 5 days of intervention in an aging population. This finding provides evidence that the latter treatment alternative is effective in achieving our primary motor rehabilitation goal, that is to allow durable motor training effects in an aging population.

Keywords: brain plasticity, Aging, noninvasive stimulation, Motor Cortex, motor learning, Effects Durability, Rehabilitation

Received: 10 Jul 2018; Accepted: 04 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Lutz Jäncke, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Reviewed by:

Patrick Ragert, Leipzig University, Germany
Anirban Dutta, University at Buffalo, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Dumel, Bourassa, Charlebois-Plante, Martine, Doyon, Saint-Amour and De Beaumont. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Ms. Gaëlle Dumel, Research Center of the Sacré-Coeur Hospital of Montreal, Montreal, H4J 1C5, Quebec, Canada, gaelle.dumel@gmail.com
Mr. Louis De Beaumont, Research Center of the Sacré-Coeur Hospital of Montreal, Montreal, H4J 1C5, Quebec, Canada, louis.de.beaumont@umontreal.ca