Background: Converging evidence points to impairments of the predictive function exerted by the cerebellum as one of the causes of the social cognition deficits observed in patients with cerebellar disorders. Objective: We tested the neurorestorative effects of cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation (ctDCS) on the use of contextual expectations to interpret actions occurring in ambiguous sensory sceneries in a sample of adolescents and young adults with congenital, non-progressive cerebellar malformation (CM). Methods: We administered an action prediction task in which, in an implicit-learning phase, the probability of co-occurrence between actions and contextual elements was manipulated to form either strongly or moderately informative expectations. Subsequently, in a testing phase, we probed the use of these contextual expectations for predicting ambiguous (i.e., temporally occluded) actions. In a sham-controlled, within-subject design, participants received anodic or sham ctDCS during the task. Results: Anodic ctDCS, compared to sham, improved patients' ability to use contextual expectations to predict the unfolding of actions embedded in moderately, but not strongly, informative contexts. Conclusions: These findings corroborate the role of the cerebellum in using previously learned contextual associations to predict social events and document the efficacy of ctDCS to boost social prediction in patients with congenital cerebellar malformation. The study encourages the further exploration of ctDCS as a neurorestorative tool for the neurorehabilitation of social cognition abilities in neurological, neuropsychiatric, and neurodevelopmental disorders featured by macro- or micro-structural alterations of the cerebellum.

Neurorestorative effects of cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation on social prediction of adolescents and young adults with congenital cerebellar malformations

Butti, Niccolò;Urgesi, Cosimo;
2024-01-01

Abstract

Background: Converging evidence points to impairments of the predictive function exerted by the cerebellum as one of the causes of the social cognition deficits observed in patients with cerebellar disorders. Objective: We tested the neurorestorative effects of cerebellar transcranial direct current stimulation (ctDCS) on the use of contextual expectations to interpret actions occurring in ambiguous sensory sceneries in a sample of adolescents and young adults with congenital, non-progressive cerebellar malformation (CM). Methods: We administered an action prediction task in which, in an implicit-learning phase, the probability of co-occurrence between actions and contextual elements was manipulated to form either strongly or moderately informative expectations. Subsequently, in a testing phase, we probed the use of these contextual expectations for predicting ambiguous (i.e., temporally occluded) actions. In a sham-controlled, within-subject design, participants received anodic or sham ctDCS during the task. Results: Anodic ctDCS, compared to sham, improved patients' ability to use contextual expectations to predict the unfolding of actions embedded in moderately, but not strongly, informative contexts. Conclusions: These findings corroborate the role of the cerebellum in using previously learned contextual associations to predict social events and document the efficacy of ctDCS to boost social prediction in patients with congenital cerebellar malformation. The study encourages the further exploration of ctDCS as a neurorestorative tool for the neurorehabilitation of social cognition abilities in neurological, neuropsychiatric, and neurodevelopmental disorders featured by macro- or micro-structural alterations of the cerebellum.
2024
28-feb-2024
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https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213158224000214
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3070398
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