Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Sci Rep, Volume 7, Issue 1, p.480 (2017)
Performing everyday actions requires fine postural control, which is a major focus of functional rehabilitation programs. Among the various range of training methods likely to improve balance and postural stability, motor imagery practice (MIP) yielded promising results. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied over the primary motor cortex was also found to potentiate the benefits of MIP on upper-limb motor tasks. Yet, combining both techniques has not been tested for tasks requiring fine postural control. To determine the impact of MIP and the additional effects of tDCS, 14 participants performed a postural control task before and after two experimental (MIP + anodal or sham tDCS over the primary motor cortex) and one control (control task + sham tDCS) conditions, in a double blind randomized study. Data revealed a significant decrease of the time required to perform the postural task. Greater performance gains were recorded when MIP was paired with anodal tDCS and when the task involved the most complex postural adjustments. Altogether, findings highlight short-term effects of MIP on postural control and suggest that combining MIP with tDCS might also be effective in rehabilitation programs for regaining postural skills in easily fatigable persons and neurologic populations.