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The tDCS & Dual Tasking study will compare the effects of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) targeting three different cortical regions (as well as sham stimulation) on dual task standing and walking in older adults with and without a recent history of recurrent falls.
The ability to stand and walk safely, especially while performing additional cognitive tasks like talking, reading or decision making, is critical to the preservation of functional independence into old age (Muir-Hunter & Wittwer, 2016). Such "dual tasking" often impairs balance, even in healthy older adults (Hausdorff et al., 2008), and those with greater dual task "costs" are more likely to suffer future falls (Muir-Hunter & Wittwer, 2016). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a safe (Brunoni et al., 2011), noninvasive and inexpensive means of modulating activity across cortical networks. A single, 20-minute session of tDCS facilitates brain activity for up to 24 hours (Nitsche et al, 2000). Through Dr. Manor's previous research in healthy older adults, he has discovered that just 20 minutes of tDCS targeting the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC)—a region involved in both cognitive and motor function—immediately reduces the dual task costs to balance when standing and walking (Zhou et al., 2014; Manor et al., 2016), and improves performance in the timed up-and-go (TUG) test of mobility (Zhou et al., 2015). However, there are several brain networks with known involvement in balance control and dual tasking, and the optimal brain region to target to improve dual task capacity has not been established. The proposed study will be a double-blinded, sham-controlled study in which older adults both with and without a history of falling undergo dual task assessments immediately before and after single, 20-minute sessions of tDCS designed to target several different brain regions with known involvement in dual tasking and the maintenance of balance.
transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Boston
Published on BioPortfolio: 2017-06-20T02:08:21-0400
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