Long-term effects of tDCS on eyeblinks

Long-term effects of cerebellar anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on the acquisition and extinction of conditioned eyeblink responses.

Cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been reported to enhance the acquisition of conditioned eyeblink responses (CR), a form of associative motor learning. The aim of the present study was to determine possible long-term effects of cerebellar tDCS on the acquisition and extinction of CRs. Delay eyeblink conditioning was performed in 40 young and healthy human participants. On day 1, 100 paired CS (conditioned stimulus)-US (unconditioned stimulus) trials were applied. During the first 50 paired CS-US trials, 20 participants received anodal cerebellar tDCS, and 20 participants received sham stimulation. On days 2, 8 and 29, 50 paired CS-US trials were applied, followed by 30 CS-only extinction trials on day 29. CR acquisition was not significantly different between anodal and sham groups. During extinction, CR incidences were significantly reduced in the anodal group compared to sham, indicating reduced retention. In the anodal group, learning related increase of CR magnitude tended to be reduced, and timing of CRs tended to be delayed. The present data do not confirm previous findings of enhanced acquisition of CRs induced by anodal cerebellar tDCS. Rather, the present findings suggest a detrimental effect of anodal cerebellar tDCS on CR retention and possibly CR performance.

PMID: 33384434 [PubMed – in process]

Sci Rep. 2020 Dec 31;10(1):22434

Authors: Kimpel O, Hulst T, Batsikadze G, Ernst TM, Nitsche MA, Timmann D, Gerwig M




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