Motor Skill Acquisition and Retention after Somatosensory Electrical Stimulation in Healthy Humans

Menno P Veldman, Inge Zijdewind, Nicola A Maffiuletti, Tibor Hortobágyi

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Abstract

Somatosensory electrical stimulation (SES) can increase motor performance, presumably through a modulation of neuronal excitability. Because the effects of SES can outlast the period of stimulation, we examined the possibility that SES can also enhance the retention of motor performance, motor memory consolidation, after 24 h (Day 2) and 7 days (Day 7), that such effects would be scaled by SES duration, and that such effects were mediated by changes in aspects of corticospinal excitability, short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI), and intracortical facilitation (ICF). Healthy young adults (n = 40) received either 20 (SES-20), 40 (SES-40), or 60 min (SES-60) of real SES, or sham SES (SES-0). The results showed SES-20 increased visuomotor performance on Day 2 (15%) and Day 7 (17%) and SES-60 increased visuomotor performance on Day 7 (11%; all p <0.05) compared with SES-0. Specific responses to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) increased immediately after SES (p <0.05) but not on Days 2 and 7. In addition, changes in behavioral and neurophysiological parameters did not correlate, suggesting that paths and structures other than the ones TMS can assay must be (also) involved in the increases in visuomotor performance after SES. As examined in the present study, low-intensity peripheral electrical nerve stimulation did not have acute effects on healthy adults' visuomotor performance but SES had delayed effects in the form of enhanced motor memory consolidation that were not scaled by the duration of SES.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume10
Issue number115
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16-Mar-2016

Keywords

  • motor learning
  • motor memory consolidation
  • primary motor cortex
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • motor evoked potential
  • HUMAN SENSORIMOTOR CORTEX
  • LONG-TERM POTENTIATION
  • PERIPHERAL-NERVE STIMULATION
  • POSTERIOR PARIETAL CORTEX
  • USE-DEPENDENT PLASTICITY
  • COMMON PERONEAL NERVE
  • CHRONIC STROKE
  • CORTICOMOTOR EXCITABILITY
  • HORIZONTAL CONNECTIONS
  • HAND

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