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PASS­ING mild elec­tric cur­rents over the scalp to stim­u­late it was found to in­crease the ac­tiv­ity of the area as­so­ci­ated with mus­cle con­trac­tion, en­hanc­ing athletics per­for­mance in the process.

That was the find­ing of Dr Lex Mauger and col­leagues at the Univer­sity of Kent’s School of Sport and Ex­er­cise Sciences fol­low­ing a re­cent study.

Mauger and his team worked with 12 cy­clists who were asked to per­form a time trial test to ex­haus­tion while a cur­rent (tran­scra­nial di­rect cur­rent stim­u­la­tion or tDCS) was passed over their scalps. Re­sults showed that the cy­clists ex­pe­ri­enced a de­creased per­cep­tion of ef­fort and were able to cy­cle for longer with the stim­u­la­tion ther­apy.

Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown tDCS to boost en­durance per­for­mance, al­though ex­perts were un­sure about the pre­cise mech­a­nisms be­hind it. Mauger and his col­leagues think tDCS makes ex­er­cise feel less ef­fort­ful. Their find­ings were pub­lished in the jour­nal Brain Stim­u­la­tion.

Brain stim­u­la­tion:

elec­tric cur­rents boosted per­for­mance

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