Cerebellar anodal tDCS increases implicit learning when strategic re-aiming is suppressed in sensorimotor adaptation.
ABSTRACT: Neurophysiological and neuroimaging work suggests that the cerebellum is critically involved in sensorimotor adaptation. Changes in cerebellar function alter behaviour when compensating for sensorimotor perturbations, as shown by non-invasive stimulation of the cerebellum and studies involving patients with cerebellar degeneration. It is known, however, that behavioural responses to sensorimotor perturbations reflect both explicit processes (such as volitional aiming to one side of a target to counteract a rotation of visual feedback) and implicit, error-driven updating of sensorimotor maps. The contribution of the cerebellum to these explicit and implicit processes remains unclear. Here, we examined the role of the cerebellum in sensorimotor adaptation to a 30° rotation of visual feedback of hand position during target-reaching, when the capacity to use explicit processes was manipulated by controlling movement preparation times. Explicit re-aiming was suppressed in one condition by requiring subjects to initiate their movements within 300ms of target presentation, and permitted in another condition by requiring subjects to wait approximately 1050ms after target presentation before movement initiation. Similar to previous work, applying anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS; 1.5mA) to the right cerebellum during adaptation resulted in faster compensation for errors imposed by the rotation. After exposure to the rotation, we evaluated implicit remapping in no-feedback trials after providing participants with explicit knowledge that the rotation had been removed. Crucially, movements were more adapted in these no-feedback trials following cerebellar anodal tDCS than after sham stimulation in both long and short preparation groups. Thus, cerebellar anodal tDCS increased implicit remapping during sensorimotor adaptation, irrespective of preparation time constraints. The results are consistent with the possibility that the cerebellum contributes to the formation of new visuomotor maps that correct perturbations in sensory feedback, even when explicit processes are suppressed during sensorimotor adaptation.
Project description:Developing novel approaches to combat age related declines in motor function is key to maintaining health and function in older adults, a subgroup of the population that is rapidly growing. Motor adaptation, a form of motor learning, has been shown to be impaired in healthy older subjects compared with their younger counterparts. Here, we tested whether excitatory anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the cerebellum could enhance adaptation in older subjects. Participants performed a "center-out" reaching task, adapting to the sudden introduction of a visual cursor rotation. Older participants receiving sham tDCS (mean age 56.3 ± 6.8 years) were slower to adapt than younger participants (mean age 20.7 ± 2.1 years). In contrast, older participants who received anodal tDCS (mean age 59.6 ± 8.1 years) adapted faster, with a rate that was similar to younger subjects. We conclude that cerebellar anodal tDCS enhances motor adaptation in older individuals. Our results highlight the efficacy of the novel approach of using cerebellar tDCS to combat age related deficits in motor learning.
Project description:The motor system demonstrates an exquisite ability to adapt to changes in the environment and to quickly reset when these changes prove transient. If similar environmental changes are encountered in the future, learning may be faster, a phenomenon known as savings. In studies of sensorimotor learning, a central component of savings is attributed to the explicit recall of the task structure and appropriate compensatory strategies. Whether implicit adaptation also contributes to savings remains subject to debate. We tackled this question by measuring, in parallel, explicit and implicit adaptive responses in a visuomotor rotation task, employing a protocol that typically elicits savings. While the initial rate of learning was faster in the second exposure to the perturbation, an analysis decomposing the 2 processes showed the benefit to be solely associated with explicit re-aiming. Surprisingly, we found a significant decrease after relearning in aftereffect magnitudes during no-feedback trials, a direct measure of implicit adaptation. In a second experiment, we isolated implicit adaptation using clamped visual feedback, a method known to eliminate the contribution of explicit learning processes. Consistent with the results of the first experiment, participants exhibited a marked reduction in the adaptation function, as well as an attenuated aftereffect when relearning from the clamped feedback. Motivated by these results, we reanalyzed data from prior studies and observed a consistent, yet unappreciated pattern of attenuation of implicit adaptation during relearning. These results indicate that explicit and implicit sensorimotor processes exhibit opposite effects upon relearning: Explicit learning shows savings, while implicit adaptation becomes attenuated.
Project description:Sensorimotor adaptation-enduring changes to motor commands due to sensory feedback-allows speakers to match their articulations to intended speech acoustics. How the brain integrates auditory feedback to modify speech motor commands and what limits the degree of these modifications remain unknown. Here, we investigated the role of speech motor cortex in modifying stored speech motor plans. In a within-subjects design, participants underwent separate sessions of sham and anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over speech motor cortex while speaking and receiving altered auditory feedback of the first formant. Anodal tDCS increased the rate of sensorimotor adaptation for feedback perturbation. Computational modeling of our results using the Directions Into Velocities of Articulators (DIVA) framework of speech production suggested that tDCS primarily affected behavior by increasing the feedforward learning rate. This study demonstrates how focal noninvasive neurostimulation can enhance the integration of auditory feedback into speech motor plans.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) over the prefrontal cortex has been shown to modulate subjective, neuronal and neuroendocrine responses, particularly in the context of stress processing. However, it is currently unknown whether tDCS stimulation over other brain regions, such as the cerebellum, can similarly affect the stress response. Despite increasing evidence linking the cerebellum to stress-related processing, no studies have investigated the hormonal and behavioural effects of cerebellar tDCS.<h4>Methods</h4>This study tested the hypothesis of a cerebellar tDCS effect on mood, behaviour and cortisol. To do this we employed a single-blind, sham-controlled design to measure performance on a cerebellar-dependent saccadic adaptation task, together with changes in cortisol output and mood, during online anodal and cathodal stimulation. Forty-five participants were included in the analysis. Stimulation groups were matched on demographic variables, potential confounding factors known to affect cortisol levels, mood and a number of personality characteristics.<h4>Results</h4>Results showed that tDCS polarity did not affect cortisol levels or subjective mood, but did affect behaviour. Participants receiving anodal stimulation showed an 8.4% increase in saccadic adaptation, which was significantly larger compared to the cathodal group (1.6%).<h4>Conclusion</h4>The stimulation effect on saccadic adaptation contributes to the current body of literature examining the mechanisms of cerebellar stimulation on associated function. We conclude that further studies are needed to understand whether and how cerebellar tDCS may module stress reactivity under challenge conditions.
Project description:Background-The cerebellum has been recently suggested as an important player in the addiction brain circuit. Cannabis is one of the most used drugs worldwide, and its long-term effects on the central nervous system are not fully understood. No valid clinical evaluations of cannabis impact on the brain are available today. The cerebellum is expected to be one of the brain structures that are highly affected by prolonged exposure to cannabis, due to its high density in endocannabinoid receptors. We aim to use a motor adaptation paradigm to indirectly assess cerebellar function in chronic cannabis users (CCUs). Methods-We used a visuomotor rotation (VMR) task that probes a putatively-cerebellar implicit motor adaptation process together with the learning and execution of an explicit aiming rule. We conducted a case-control study, recruiting 18 CCUs and 18 age-matched healthy controls. Our main measure was the angular aiming error. Results-Our results show that CCUs have impaired implicit motor adaptation, as they showed a smaller rate of adaptation compared with healthy controls (drift rate: 19.3 +/- 6.8° vs. 27.4 +/- 11.6°; t(26) = -2.1, p = 0.048, Cohen's d = -0.8, 95% CI = (-1.7, -0.15)). Conclusions-We suggest that a visuomotor rotation task might be the first step towards developing a useful tool for the detection of alterations in implicit learning among cannabis users.
Project description:Recent studies have demonstrated that task success signals can modulate learning during sensorimotor adaptation tasks, primarily through engaging explicit processes. Here, we examine the influence of task outcome on implicit adaptation, using a reaching task in which adaptation is induced by feedback that is not contingent on actual performance. We imposed an invariant perturbation (rotation) on the feedback cursor while varying the target size. In this way, the cursor either hit or missed the target, with the former producing a marked attenuation of implicit motor learning. We explored different computational architectures that might account for how task outcome information interacts with implicit adaptation. The results fail to support an architecture in which adaptation operates in parallel with a model-free operant reinforcement process. Rather, task outcome may serve as a gain on implicit adaptation or provide a distinct error signal for a second, independent implicit learning process.<h4>Editorial note</h4>This article has been through an editorial process in which the authors decide how to respond to the issues raised during peer review. The Reviewing Editor's assessment is that all the issues have been addressed (see decision letter).
Project description:Skill increase in motor performance can be defined as explicitly measuring task success but also via more implicit measures of movement kinematics. Even though these measures are often related, there is evidence that they represent distinct concepts of learning. In the present study, the effect of multiple tDCS-sessions on both explicit and implicit measures of learning are investigated in a pointing task in 30 young adults (YA) between 27.07 ± 3.8 years and 30 old adults (OA) between 67.97 years ± 5.3 years. We hypothesized, that OA would show slower explicit skill learning indicated by higher movement times/lower accuracy and slower implicit learning indicated by higher spatial variability but profit more from anodal tDCS compared with YA. We found age-related differences in movement time but not in accuracy or spatial variability. TDCS did not skill learning facilitate learning neither in explicit nor implicit parameters. However, contrary to our hypotheses, we found tDCS-associated higher accuracy only in YA but not in spatial variability. Taken together, our data shows limited overlapping of tDCS effects in explicit and implicit skill parameters. Furthermore, it supports the assumption that tDCS is capable of producing a performance-enhancing brain state at least for explicit skill acquisition.
Project description:Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) over the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC) has already been shown to decrease craving for food. However, it remains unclear whether a single session of tDCS combined with a cognitive bias modification (CBM) task may affect explicit and implicit measures of craving for chocolate. Fifty-one healthy volunteers (38 females; mean age: 22.12 ± 3.38) were randomly allocated to CBM training based on the Approach Avoidance task and either Sham, Right anodal-Left cathodal (RALC), or Left anodal-Right cathodal (LARC) tDCS. Results show that there was an increase in the explicit craving for chocolate, as assessed by the Visual Analog Scale [F(2, 46) = 3.239, p = 0.048], from the baseline to post-intervention. Participants which received LARC tDCS were explicitly self-reporting more craving for chocolate than those that received RALC tDCS (p = 0.023). Moreover, this effect was also observed on the implicit measure [F(2, 46) = 4.168, p = 0.022]. LARC tDCS significantly increased the implicit preference for chocolate when comparing to both RALC (p = 0.009) and Sham tDCS (p = 0.034). Previous studies have shown that RALC tDCS over the PFC is able to effectively decrease craving for food. Interestingly, the present data not only does not reproduce such result, but instead it suggests that LARC tDCS can actually increase the preference for chocolate. This result is compatible with recent models of brain laterality, in which cue craving seems to be more dependent on the left hemisphere. Thus, shifting the activity to the left hemisphere (while simultaneously reducing the activity over the homotopic region) may have led to this increased implicit as well as explicit preference for chocolate.
Project description:Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) may cause variable functional impairment. The discrepancy between functional impairment and brain imaging findings in patients with MS (PwMS) might be attributed to differential adaptive and consolidation capacities. Modulating those abilities could contribute to a favorable clinical course of the disease. Objectives: We examined the effect of cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation (c-tDCS) on locomotor adaptation and consolidation in PwMS using a split-belt treadmill (SBT) paradigm. Methods: 40 PwMS and 30 matched healthy controls performed a locomotor adaptation task on a SBT. First, we assessed locomotor adaptation in PwMS. In a second investigation, this training was followed by cerebellar anodal tDCS applied immediately after the task ipsilateral to the fast leg (T0). The SBT paradigm was repeated 24 h (T1) and 78 h (T2) post-stimulation to evaluate consolidation. Results: The gait dynamics and adaptation on the SBT were comparable between PwMS and controls. We found no effects of offline cerebellar anodal tDCS on locomotor adaptation and consolidation. Participants who received the active stimulation showed the same retention index than sham-stimulated subjects at T1 (p = 0.33) and T2 (p = 0.46). Conclusion: Locomotor adaptation is preserved in people with mild-to-moderate MS. However, cerebellar anodal tDCS applied immediately post-training does not further enhance this ability. Future studies should define the neurobiological substrates of maintained plasticity in PwMS and how these substrates can be manipulated to improve compensation. Systematic assessments of methodological variables for cerebellar tDCS are urgently needed to increase the consistency and replicability of the results across experiments in various settings.
Project description:The objective of this study was to examine the therapeutic potential of multiple sessions of training on a split-belt treadmill (SBT) combined with cerebellar anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on gait and balance in People with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS). Twenty-two PwMS received six sessions of anodal (PwMS<sub>real</sub>, <i>n</i> = 12) or sham (PwMS<sub>sham</sub>, <i>n</i> = 10) tDCS to the cerebellum prior to performing the locomotor adaptation task on the SBT. To evaluate the effect of the intervention, functional gait assessment (FGA) scores and distance walked in 2 min (2MWT) were measured at the baseline (T0), day 6 (T5), and at the 4-week follow up (T6). Locomotor performance and changes of motor outcomes were similar in PwMS<sub>real</sub> and PwMS<sub>sham</sub> independently from tDCS mode applied to the cerebellum (anodal vs. sham, on FGA, <i>p</i> = 0.23; and 2MWT, <i>p</i> = 0.49). When the data were pooled across the groups to investigate the effects of multiple sessions of SBT training alone, significant improvement of gait and balance was found on T5 and T6, respectively, relative to baseline (FGA, <i>p</i> < 0.001 for both time points). The FGA change at T6 was significantly higher than at T5 (<i>p</i> = 0.01) underlining a long-lasting improvement. An improvement of the distance walked during the 2MWT was also observed on T5 and T6 relative to T0 (<i>p</i> = 0.002). Multiple sessions of SBT training resulted in a lasting improvement of gait stability and endurance, thus potentially reducing the risk of fall as measured by FGA and 2MWT. Application of cerebellar tDCS during SBT walking had no additional effect on locomotor outcomes.