Background: The control of grip forces when moving a hand held object is impaired in patients with cerebellar degeneration. We asked the question whether after-effects of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied to the lateral cerebellum or M1 improved grip force control in cerebellar patients. Methods: Grip force control while holding an object during cyclic arm movements was assessed in patients with pure cerebellar degeneration (n = 14, mean age 50.2 years ± SD 8.8 years) and age- and sex-matched control participants (n = 14, mean age 50.7 years ± SD 9.8 years). All subjects were tested before and after application of tDCS (2 mA, 22 min) in a within-subject design. Each subject received anodal tDCS applied to the cerebellum, anodal tDCS applied to M1 or sham-stimulation with a break of 1 week between the three experimental sessions. Results: There were no clear after-effects of tDCS on grip force control neither in control participants nor in cerebellar patients. Cerebellar patients showed typical impairments with higher grip forces, a higher variability of movements. Conclusion: In the present study, deficits in grip force control were neither improved by tDCS applied over the cerebellum nor M1 in cerebellar degeneration.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was funded by a grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG TI 239/16–1) awarded to DT; and a scholarship by the Else Kröner Fresenius foundation awarded to LJ.
© 2017 The Author(s).