Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Electric shock to the brain could increase stroke patients' motor skills

  • Comment
Scientists believe that a small electric shock to the brain could increase a person's motor skills, which could be used to treat stoke victims.

Leonard Cohen of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), along with researchers at Columbia University in New York City and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US, tested how delivering a mild electrical shock to the primary motor cortex would affect motor skill learning.

Participants in the study were required to learn a new motor skill. In this case each was asked, for five consecutive days, to play a targeting game on a computer monitor by squeezing a joystick.

One group received 20 minutes of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and the other group received only a 30-second 'fake' stimulation.

The study found that the skill of the tDCS group improved significantly more than that of the control group. During the three month follow-up period, the two groups forgot the skill at about the same rate, although the tDCS group continued to perform better because they had learned the skill better by the end of training.

It is hoped that the research will enhance treatment for people with traumatic brain injury, such as strokes, that affect motor skills.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.