Non-invasive brain stimulation impacts walking patterns

A new non-invasive technique for stimulation of the brain has helped healthy individuals learn new walking patterns more rapidly. This suggests that the technique, called cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), could help patients who have suffered a stroke or other brain injury relearn how to walk. In a new study, researchers explored how stimulation of the cerebellum, a part of the brain essential in adaptive learning, affected the learning process. They found that by placing electrodes on the scalp over the cerebellum and applying very low levels of current, the rate of walking adaptation could be increased or decreased. The research team observed 53 healthy adults in a series of split-belt treadmill walking tests in which one leg was set to move faster than the other. The cerebellar tDCS was able to change the rate that the people were able to adapt to this disturbance.