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Increasing human motor skill acquisition by driving theta-gamma coupling

Akkad, H; Dupont-Hadwen, J; Kane, E; Evans, C; Barrett, L; Frese, A; Tetkovic, I; ... Stagg, CJ; + view all (2021) Increasing human motor skill acquisition by driving theta-gamma coupling. eLife , 10 , Article e67355. 10.7554/eLife.67355. Green open access

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Abstract

Skill learning is a fundamental adaptive process, but the mechanisms remain poorly understood. Some learning paradigms, particularly in the memory domain, are closely associated with gamma activity that is amplitude-modulated by the phase of underlying theta activity, but whether such nested activity patterns also underpin skill learning is unknown. Here we addressed this question by using transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) over sensorimotor cortex to modulate theta-gamma activity during motor skill acquisition, as an exemplar of a non-hippocampal-dependent task. We demonstrated, and then replicated, a significant improvement in skill acquisition with theta-gamma tACS, which outlasted the stimulation by an hour. Our results suggest that theta-gamma activity may be a common mechanism for learning across the brain and provides a putative novel intervention for optimising functional improvements in response to training or therapy.

Type: Article
Title: Increasing human motor skill acquisition by driving theta-gamma coupling
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.67355
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.67355
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021, Akkad et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: human, neuroscience
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139519
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