FURI | Fall 2022

Investigating the Strength of Placebo Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on Motor Training

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Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a form of non-invasive brain stimulation thought to initiate cortical excitability. While tDCS has been shown to alter motor learning, the extent to which placebo effects, not tDCS treatment effects, are responsible for these benefits is unknown. This study compares how much a motor skill improves with practice during sham stimulation via 4×1 HD-tDCS vs. 1×1 tDCS. The goal is to investigate whether more sophisticated tDCS devices exert a stronger placebo effect on motor training than more basic ones, which will help to understand how patients’ perception of the quality of treatment they receive may influence the outcome of their treatment.

Student researcher

Hitesh R. Gurram

Biomedical engineering

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2024

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