Modulating motor learning with brain stimulation: Stage-specific perspectives for transcranial and transcutaneous delivery

Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2023 Jul 13;125:110766. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2023.110766. Epub 2023 Apr 11.


Brain stimulation has been used in motor learning studies with success in improving aspects of task learning, retention, and consolidation. Using a variety of motor tasks and stimulus parameters, researchers have produced an array of literature supporting the efficacy of brain stimulation to modulate motor task learning. We discuss the use of transcranial direct current stimulation, transcranial alternating current stimulation, and peripheral nerve stimulation to modulate motor learning. In a novel approach, we review literature of motor learning modulation in terms of learning stage, categorizing learning into acquisition, consolidation, and retention. We endeavour to provide a current perspective on the stage-specific mechanism behind modulation of motor task learning, to give insight into how electrical stimulation improves or hinders motor learning, and how mechanisms differ depending on learning stage. Offering a look into the effectiveness of peripheral nerve stimulation for motor learning, we include potential mechanisms and overlapping features with transcranial stimulation. We conclude by exploring how peripheral stimulation may contribute to the results of studies that employed brain stimulation intracranially.

PMID:37044280 | DOI:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2023.110766