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Acute effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on postural control of trained athletes: A randomized controlled trial


Giancatarina, M. et al




Publication type

Artículo de revista




transcranial direct current stimulation, trained athletes, postural control, randomized controlled trial


Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is used to modulate brain function, and can modulate motor and postural control. While the acute effect of tDCS is well documented on patients, little is still known whether tDCS can alter the motor control of healthy trained participants. This study aimed to assess the acute effect of tDCS on postural control of parkour practitioners, known for their good balance abilities and their neuromuscular specificities that make them good candidates for tDCS intervention. Eighteen parkour practitioners were tested on three occasions in the laboratory for each stimulation condition (2 mA; 20 minutes)–primary motor cortex (M1), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and sham (placebo). Postural control was evaluated PRE and POST each stimulation by measuring Center of Pressure (CoP) displacements on a force platform during static conditions (bipedal and unipedal stance). Following M1 stimulation, significant decreases were observed in CoP area in unipedal (from 607.1 ± 297.9 mm² to 451.1 ± 173.9 mm², P = 0.003) and bipedal (from 157.5 ± 74.1 mm² to 117.6 ± 59.8 mm² P<0.001) stances. As well, the CoP total length was significantly reduced in bipedal (from 3416.8 ± 295.4 mm to 3280.6 ± 306.2 mm, P = 0.005) as well as in unipedal stance (from 4259.6 ± 398.4 mm to 3846.5 ± 468.9 mm, P<0.001), only after M1 stimulation. Relative pre-post changes observed after M1 stimulation were negatively correlated to experience in parkour only after unipedal stance (r = 0.715, P<0.001), meaning that the more participants were trained the less tDCS was effective. No significant changes were noticed after sham and dlPFC stimulation. These results suggested that the modulation of gait performance in athletes following an acute intervention of tDCS is specific to the targeted brain region, and that postures with reduced base of support (such as unipedal stance) were more sensitive to tDCS.


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