Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on grip force control in patients with cerebellar degeneration

Liane John, Michael Küper*, Thomas Hulst, Dagmar Timmann, Joachim Hermsdörfer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalCerebellum and Ataxias
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding 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.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


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