Long lasting effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on motor imagery

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Abstract

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was employed to probe the modulatory effects of transcranial direct current stimulation of motor cortex on motor evoked responses (MEPs) produced during motor imagery. MEP amplitudes at rest and during motor imagery were assessed before and for a period of 60 min after transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied over the primary motor cortex at 1 mA for 5 min. Cathodal stimulation induced a decrease of about 30% of MEP amplitude at rest and a 50% reduction of MEP size during imagery. Ten minutes after tDCS, MEPs at rest returned to baseline values while MEPs during motor imagery were suppressed for up to 30 min. No changes in MEP amplitude during imagery were found after anodal stimulation. tDCS could represent a powerful tool to modulate the excitability of motor areas involved in mental practice and motor imagery.

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