DOI: 10.1101/500215Dec 19, 2018Paper

Boosting learning efficacy with non-invasive brain stimulation in intact and brain-damaged humans

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Florian HerpichLorella Battelli


Numerous behavioral studies have shown that visual function can improve with training, although perceptual refinements generally require weeks to months of training to attain. This, along with questions about long-term retention of learning, limits practical and clinical applications of many such paradigms. Here, we show for the first time that just 10 days of visual training coupled with transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) over visual areas causes dramatic improvements in visual motion perception. Relative to control conditions and anodal stimulation, tRNS-enhanced learning was at least twice as fast, and, crucially, it persisted for 6 months after the end of training and stimulation. Notably, tRNS also boosted learning in patients with chronic cortical blindness, leading to recovery of motion processing in the blind field after just 10 days of training, a period too short to elicit enhancements with training alone. In sum, our results reveal a remarkable enhancement of the capacity for long-lasting plastic and restorative changes when a neuromodulatory intervention is coupled with visual training.

Related Concepts

Brain Damage, Chronic
Chronic Disease
Neuronal Plasticity
Visual Perception
Visual Processing
Brain Stimulation

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