Transcranial direct-current stimulation enhances implicit motor sequence learning in persons with Parkinson's disease with mild cognitive impairment

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Abstract

Implicit motor sequence learning (IMSL) is affected in Parkinson's disease (PD). Research in healthy young participants shows the potential for transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) over the primary motor cortex (M1) to enhance IMSL. In PD, only null effects have been reported to date. We determined concurrent, short-term, and long-term effects of anodal tDCS over M1 on IMSL, as measured by the serial reaction time (SRT) task, in persons with PD with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Concurrent (anodal/sham tDCS intervention during the SRT task), short-term (5 min post-intervention), and long-term (1 week post-intervention) effects on IMSL were evaluated in persons with idiopathic PD (Hoehn and Yahr stage II-III) with MCI. Results of 11 persons with PD (8 men and 3 women; mean age = 77.1 years; mean disease duration = 7.7 years) showed significant IMSL in the anodal (p = .016), but not in the sham tDCS condition (p = .937). Post-hoc analyses showed that IMSL reached statistical significance at 1 week post-intervention (p < .001). Anodal tDCS over M1 exerted beneficial effects on IMSL in persons with PD with MCI, in particular one week post-intervention. Our study is the first to report a positive effect of tDCS on IMSL in PD. Further research should include a larger, more cognitively diverse sample and additional follow-up periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-378
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuropsychology
Volume15
Issue number3
Early online date18 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2020 British Psychological Society.

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