Test-retest reliability of transcranial direct current stimulation-induced modulation of resting-state sensorimotor cortex oxygenation time course

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Historically, humans have sought various ways to improve their daily lives. With the current technological advances, this quest is facilitated, especially in the desire to increase their cognitive and / or motor skills. Neuro imagery now makes it possible to inform the areas activated during different functional tasks. Today, it is now possible to modulate brain activity by stimulating the brain locally with weak electrical currents. One of the most common techniques for this purpose is called tDCS for transcranial direct current stimulation. The polarity of the induced current (anodal or cathodal stimulation) allows to modulate upward or downward cortico-spinal excitability by depolarizing or hyperpolarizing the membrane of the neurons, respectively. Despite a growing interest of neuromodulation techniques via tDCS, the results reported by the scientific community are relatively heterogeneous. The work initiated at the beginning of the 2000s is called into question by current results showing a rather large inter and intra variability. This stumbling block requires the development of new protocols for the application of anodal tDCS (atDCS). In this thesis, we were interested in optimizing atDCS protocols in order to increase the persistence of the induced-neuroplastic effects and to increase the behavioral performances. Two studies were carried out in order to first reveal the impact from the motor task/atDCS coupling and then to highlight the cumulative effects of multiple motor-tDCS task sessions with priming atDCS on motor performance. The first study through the use of near infrared spectroscopy allowed to report various hemodynamic changes subsequent to the motor task/atDCS coupling with respect to independent and controlled stimulation protocols. The primacy of the concomitant use of tDCS with the motor task was revealed by the slightest activation of the sensorimotor cortex during stimulation and by an increased delayed cerebral activation which could represent a neuroplastic reorganization. The second study examined the effects of repeated atDCS sessions with anoadal or cathodal tDCS priming in order to improve the learning and retention gains of the sensorimotor system. TDCS priming was more favorable for repeated atDCS sessions to generate higher motor performances contrary to sham. The cathodal polarity produced prolonged persistence. The major findings of this work allow to support the concomitant use of atDCS with the motor task. Future research is needed to study the transfer of these results into the fields of coaching and rehabilitation.
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