Swissa, Y., Hacohen, S., Friedman, J., & Frenkel-Toledo, S. (2022). Sensorimotor performance after high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation over the primary somatosensory or motor cortices in men versus women. Sci Rep, 12, 11117.
Abstract: The primary somatosensory (S1) cortex is a central structure in motor performance. However, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) research aimed at improving motor performance usually targets the primary motor cortex (M1). Recently, sex was found to mediate tDCS response. Thus, we investigated whether tDCS with an anodal electrode placed over S1 improves motor performance and sensation perception in men versus women. Forty-five participants randomly received 15-min high-definition tDCS (HD-tDCS) at 1 mA to S1, M1, or sham stimulation. Reaching performance was tested before and immediately following stimulation. Two-point orientation discrimination (TPOD) of fingers and proprioception of a reaching movement were also tested. Although motor performance did not differ between groups, reaching reaction time improved in the M1 group men. Reaching movement time and endpoint error improved in women and men, respectively. Correct trials percentage for TPOD task was higher in the S1 compared to the M1 group in the posttest and improved only in the S1 group. Reaching movement time for the proprioception task improved, overall, and endpoint error did not change. Despite the reciprocal connections between S1 and M1, effects of active tDCS over S1 and M1 may specifically influence sensation perception and motor performance, respectively. Also, sex may mediate effects of HD-tDCS on motor performance.