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Single-session tDCS-supported retraining does not improve fine motor control in musician’s dystonia


Buttkus, F; Baur, V; Jabusch, H-C; Gomez-Pellin, M; Paulus, W; Nitsche, M A; Altenmüller, E (2011). Single-session tDCS-supported retraining does not improve fine motor control in musician’s dystonia. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, 29:85-90.

Abstract

Background: Focal dystonia in musicians (MD) is a task-specific movement disorder with a loss of voluntary motor control during instrumental playing. Defective inhibition on different levels of the central nervous system is involved in the pathophysiology. Sensorimotor retraining is a therapeutic approach to MD and aims to establish non-dystonic movements. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) modulates cortical excitability and alters motor performance. In this study, tDCS of the motor cortex was expected to assist retraining at the instrument.

Methods: Nine professional pianists suffering from MD were included in a placebo-controlled double-blinded study. Retraining consisted of slow, voluntarily controlled movements on the piano and was combined with tDCS. Patients were treated with three stimulation protocols: anodal tDCS, cathodal tDCS and placebo stimulation.

Results: No beneficial effects of single-session tDCS-supported sensorimotor retraining on fine motor control in pianists with MD were found in all three conditions. Conclusions: The main cause of the negative result of this study may be the short intervention time. One retraining session with a duration of 20 min seems not sufficient to improve symptoms of MD. Additionally, a single tDCS session might not be sufficient to modify sensorimotor learning of a highly skilled task in musicians with dystonia.

Abstract

Background: Focal dystonia in musicians (MD) is a task-specific movement disorder with a loss of voluntary motor control during instrumental playing. Defective inhibition on different levels of the central nervous system is involved in the pathophysiology. Sensorimotor retraining is a therapeutic approach to MD and aims to establish non-dystonic movements. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) modulates cortical excitability and alters motor performance. In this study, tDCS of the motor cortex was expected to assist retraining at the instrument.

Methods: Nine professional pianists suffering from MD were included in a placebo-controlled double-blinded study. Retraining consisted of slow, voluntarily controlled movements on the piano and was combined with tDCS. Patients were treated with three stimulation protocols: anodal tDCS, cathodal tDCS and placebo stimulation.

Results: No beneficial effects of single-session tDCS-supported sensorimotor retraining on fine motor control in pianists with MD were found in all three conditions. Conclusions: The main cause of the negative result of this study may be the short intervention time. One retraining session with a duration of 20 min seems not sufficient to improve symptoms of MD. Additionally, a single tDCS session might not be sufficient to modify sensorimotor learning of a highly skilled task in musicians with dystonia.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:28 Nov 2011 14:23
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 09:50
Publisher:IOS Press
ISSN:0922-6028
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3233/RNN-2011-0582

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