Effect of transcranial direct current stimulation on elbow flexor maximal voluntary isometric strength and endurance
NRC Research Press
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences/Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
The effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC) strength and the time to failure (TTF) in an isometric (30% MVC) muscle endurance test of the elbow flexors were investigated. Fifteen men (mean age, 27.7 ± 8.4 years) were tested for MVC strength and TTF 2 times, separated by a 60-min rest. During the last 10 min of the rest period, 1 of 2 tDCS treatments or 1 sham intervention session was administered, in a randomized order, with 1 week between sessions. In the tDCS intervention, a 2 mA direct current was delivered for 10 min through an anode placed on the scalp, overlying the right motor cortical representation of the left arm; a cathode was secured over the right shoulder. In the sham intervention, the current was delivered for the first 30 s only. No significant differences between the first and second tDCS sessions were evident for MVC strength or TTF. For MVC strength (baseline, 66.0 ± 11.4 Nm), postintervention measures decreased by 5.9% ± 4.2% (p < 0.05), but no significant difference in the changes was evident between tDCS and sham sessions. TTF did not change significantly from preintervention (309.2 ± 91.6 s) to postintervention (327.2 ± 128.5 s), and there was no significant difference between interventions. It was concluded that the tDCS intervention did not affect muscle function, perhaps because of ceiling effects, in which the intervention does not enhance muscle function further when muscle function is already maximal.