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  • Rodionov, Andrei; Savolainen, Sarianna; Kirveskari, Erika; Mäkelä, Jyrki P.; Shulga, Anastasia (2020)
    Recovery of lower-limb function after spinal cord injury (SCI) is dependent on the extent of remaining neural transmission in the corticospinal pathway. The aim of this proof-of-concept pilot study was to explore the effects of long-term paired associative stimulation (PAS) on leg muscle strength and walking in people with SCI. Five individuals with traumatic incomplete chronic tetraplegia (>34 months post-injury, motor incomplete, 3 females, mean age 60 years) with no contraindications to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) received PAS to one or both legs for 2 months (28 sessions in total, 5 times a week for the first 2 weeks and 3 times a week thereafter). The participants were evaluated with the Manual Muscle Test (MMT), AIS motor and sensory examination, Modified Asworth Scale (MAS), and the Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM) prior to the intervention, after 1 and 2 months of PAS, and after a 1-month follow-up. The study was registered at (NCT03459885). During the intervention, MMT scores and AIS motor scores increased significantly (p = 0.014 and p = 0.033, respectively). Improvements were stable in follow-up. AIS sensory scores, MAS, and SCIM were not modified significantly. MMT score prior to intervention was a good predictor of changes in walking speed (Radj2 = 0.962). The results of this proof-of-concept pilot study justify a larger trial on the effect of long-term PAS on leg muscle strength and walking in people with chronic incomplete SCI.
  • Lukasik, Karolina M.; Lehtonen, Minna; Salmi, Juha; Meinzer, Marcus; Joutsa, Juho; Laine, Matti (2018)
    The effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on dorsolateral prefrontal cortex functions, such as working memory (WM), have been examined in a number of studies. However, much less is known about the behavioral effects of tDCS over other important WM-related brain regions, such as the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC). In a counterbalanced within-subjects design with 33 young healthy participants, we examined whether online and offline single-session tDCS over VLPFC affects WM updating performance as measured by a digit 3-back task. We compared three conditions: anodal, cathodal and sham. We observed no significant tDCS effects on participants' accuracy or reaction times during or after the stimulation. Neither did we find any differences between anodal and cathodal stimulation. Largely similar results were obtained when comparing subgroups of high- and low-performing participants. Possible reasons for the lack of effects, including individual differences in responsiveness to tDCS, features of montage, task and sample characteristics, and the role of VLPFC in WM, are discussed.