OBJECTIVE: High frequency electrical stimulation of an area of skin on a finger improves two-point spatial discrimination in the stimulated area, likely depending on plastic changes in the somatosensory cortex. However, it is unknown whether improvement also applies to temporal discrimination. METHODS: Twelve young and ten elderly volunteers underwent the stimulation protocol onto the palmar skin of the right index finger. Somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold (STDT) was evaluated before and immediately after stimulation as well as 2.5h and 24h later. RESULTS: There was a significant reduction in somatosensory temporal threshold only on the stimulated finger. The effect was reversible, with STDT returning to the baseline values within 24h, and was smaller in the elderly than in the young participants. CONCLUSIONS: High frequency stimulation of the skin focally improves temporal discrimination in the area of stimulation. Given previous suggestions that the perceptual effects rely on plastic changes in the somatosensory cortex, our results are consistent with the idea that the timing of sensory stimuli is, at least partially, encoded in the primary somatosensory cortex. SIGNIFICANCE: Such a protocol could potentially be used as a therapeutic intervention to ameliorate physiological decline in the elderly or in other disorders of sensorimotor integration.

High frequency repetitive sensory stimulation improves temporal discrimination in healthy subjects

Erro, R.;Palladino, R.;
2016

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: High frequency electrical stimulation of an area of skin on a finger improves two-point spatial discrimination in the stimulated area, likely depending on plastic changes in the somatosensory cortex. However, it is unknown whether improvement also applies to temporal discrimination. METHODS: Twelve young and ten elderly volunteers underwent the stimulation protocol onto the palmar skin of the right index finger. Somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold (STDT) was evaluated before and immediately after stimulation as well as 2.5h and 24h later. RESULTS: There was a significant reduction in somatosensory temporal threshold only on the stimulated finger. The effect was reversible, with STDT returning to the baseline values within 24h, and was smaller in the elderly than in the young participants. CONCLUSIONS: High frequency stimulation of the skin focally improves temporal discrimination in the area of stimulation. Given previous suggestions that the perceptual effects rely on plastic changes in the somatosensory cortex, our results are consistent with the idea that the timing of sensory stimuli is, at least partially, encoded in the primary somatosensory cortex. SIGNIFICANCE: Such a protocol could potentially be used as a therapeutic intervention to ameliorate physiological decline in the elderly or in other disorders of sensorimotor integration.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/737763
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