Lead LASEM Staff Member – Dr. Dawson Kidgell
Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a neuromodulatory technique that involves application of very low-amplitude direct currents (2 mA or less) via surface scalp electrodes. The applied current modifies the transmembrane neuronal potential and thus influences the level of brain excitability (brain-readiness for movement).
Depending on the polarity of active electrodes over the primary motor cortex (M1 [the region of the brain that enables us to move and perform motor skills]), tDCS can increase or decrease motor cortex excitability (brain-readiness for movement), with increases correlating to improved motor-learning.
Although tDCS modulates the excitability of neurons within the M1, it may also induce effects in distant brain areas caused by activity of interconnected brain zones (known as functional connectivity). A critical brain region involved in motor-learning is the premotor cortex (PM). The PM is structurally and functionally connected with the M1 and neuroplastic alterations of neuronal connectivity might be an important basis for motor-learning.
The aim of this funded research is to explore the neuroplastic alterations of PM-M1 brain connections by tDCS in healthy humans and its effect on motor-learning.
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Recent publications from Dr. Kidgell
Frazer A, Kidgell DJ, Spittle M, Williams J. P284 Bilateral effects of unilateral anodal tDCS on motor cortex plasticity and the cross-transfer of strength. Clinical Neurophysiology. 2017;128(3):e149
Frazer AK, Williams J, Spittle M, Kidgell DJ. Cross-education of muscular strength is facilitated by homeostatic plasticity. European journal of applied physiology. 2017:1-13.