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The Cerebellum

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 859–867 | Cite as

What Do We Know About the Influence of the Cerebellum on Walking Ability? Promising Findings from Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation

  • Antonino Naro
  • Demetrio Milardi
  • Alberto Cacciola
  • Margherita Russo
  • Francesca Sciarrone
  • Gianluca La Rosa
  • Alessia Bramanti
  • Placido Bramanti
  • Rocco Salvatore Calabrò
Original Paper

Abstract

Several cerebellar functions related to upper limb motor control have been studied using non-invasive brain stimulation paradigms. We have recently shown that transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) may be a promising approach in shaping the plasticity of cerebellum-brain pathways in a safe and effective manner. This study aimed to assess whether cerebellar tACS at different frequencies may tune M1-leg excitability and modify gait control in healthy human subjects. To this end, we tested the effects of different cerebellar tACS frequencies over the right cerebellar hemisphere (at 10, 50, and 300 Hz, besides a sham-tACS) on M1-leg excitability, cerebellum-brain inhibition (CBI), and gait parameters in a sample of 25 healthy volunteers. Fifty and 300 Hz tACS differently modified M1-leg excitability and CBI from both lower limbs, without significant gait perturbations. We hypothesize that tACS aftereffect may depend on a selective entrainment of distinct cerebellar networks related to lower limb motor functions. Therefore, cerebellar tACS might represent a useful tool to modulate walking training in people with cerebellum-related gait impairment, given that tACS may potentially reset abnormal cerebellar circuitries.

Keywords

Cerebellum-brain interaction Gait control Transcranial alternating current stimulation Cerebellum-brain inhibition Cortical excitability 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonino Naro
    • 1
  • Demetrio Milardi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alberto Cacciola
    • 1
  • Margherita Russo
    • 1
  • Francesca Sciarrone
    • 1
  • Gianluca La Rosa
    • 1
  • Alessia Bramanti
    • 1
  • Placido Bramanti
    • 1
  • Rocco Salvatore Calabrò
    • 1
  1. 1.IRCCS Centro Neurolesi “Bonino-Pulejo”MessinaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical, Dental Sciences, and Morphological and Functional ImagesUniversity of Messina (Italy)MessinaItaly

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