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New paper!

  • July 5, 2021

Mahyar Firouzi recently published a new paper! 


Registered report: Does transcranial direct current stimulation of the primary motor cortex improve implicit motor sequence learning in Parkinson's disease? 

By Mahyar Firouzi, Kris Baetens, Eva Swinnen, Chris Baeken, Frank Van Overwalle, Natacha Deroost. 



Implicit motor sequence learning (IMSL) is a cognitive function that is known to be directly associated with impaired motor function in Parkinson's disease (PD). Research on healthy young participants shows the potential for transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive brain stimulation technique, over the primary motor cortex (M1) to enhance IMSL. tDCS has direct effects on the underlying cortex, but also induces distant (basal ganglia) network effects—hence its potential value in PD, a prime model of basal ganglia dysfunction. To date, only null effects have been reported in persons with PD. However, these studies did not determine the reacquisition effects, although previous studies in healthy young adults suggest that tDCS specifically exerts its beneficial effects on IMSL on reacquisition rather than acquisition. In the current study, we will therefore establish possible reacquisition effects, which are of a particular interest, as long-term effects are vital for the successful functional rehabilitation of persons with PD. Using a sham-controlled, counterbalanced design, we will investigate the potential of tDCS delivered over M1 to enhance IMSL, as measured by the serial reaction time task, in persons with PD and a neurologically healthy age- and sex-matched control (HC) group. Multilevel Mixed Models will be implemented to analyze the sequence-specific aspect of IMSL (primary outcome) and general learning (secondary outcome). We will determine not only the immediate effects that may occur concurrently with the application of tDCS but also the short-term (5 min post-tDCS) and long-term (1 week post-tDCS) reacquisition effects.


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