Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been widely explored as a neuromodulatory adjunct to modulate corticomotor excitability and improve motor behavior. However, issues with the effectiveness of tDCS have led to the exploration of empirical and experimental alternate electrode placements to enhance neuromodulatory effects. Here, we conducted a preliminary study to compare a novel electrode montage (which involved placing 13 cm2
electrodes anterior and posterior to the target location) to the traditionally used electrode montage (13 cm2
stimulating electrode over the target area and the 35 cm2
reference electrode over the contralateral orbit). We examined the effects of tDCS of the lower limb motor area (M1) by measuring the corticomotor excitability (CME) of the tibialis anterior muscle using transcranial magnetic stimulation in twenty healthy participants. We examined behavioral effects using a skilled motor control task performed with the ankle. We did not find one electrode montage to be superior to the other for changes in the CME or motor control. When the group was dichotomized into responders and non-responders (based on upregulation in CME), we found that the responders showed significant upregulation from baseline after tDCS for both montages. However, only the responders in the traditional montage group showed significant changes in motor control after tDCS. These results do not support the superiority of the new anterior–posterior montage over the traditional montage. Further work with a larger cohort and multiple cumulative sessions may be necessary to confirm our results.
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