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Sukhvinder S. Obhi, Patrick Haggard, John Taylor, and Alvaro Pascual-Leone

Bimanual coordination tasks form an essential part of our behaviour. One brain region thought to be involved in bimanual coordination is the supplementary motor area (SMA). We used repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) at 1 Hz for 5 min to create a temporary virtual lesion of the rostral portion of the human SMA immediately prior to performance of a goal-directed bimanual coordination task. In two control conditions, participants underwent sham stimulation or stimulation over the primary motor cortex (MI). The experimental task was to open a drawer with the left hand, catch a ball with the right hand, and reinsert the ball into the drawer through an aperture just big enough for the ball to pass through, again with the right hand. Hence, the actions of one hand depend upon the actions of the other. We calculated time intervals between the successive component actions of one hand (unimanual intervals) and actions of both hands (bimanual intervals) and analyzed these intervals separately. Interestingly, none of the unimanual intervals were affected by the rTMS, but the variability of a critical bimanual interval—the time between the left hand opening the drawer and the right hand starting to move to catch the ball—was increased by rTMS over the rostral parts of the SMA. No such effect was seen following rTMS over MI or after sham rTMS. Our results suggest that the rostral parts of the SMA play an important role in aspects of functional bimanual tasks, which involve tight temporal coordination between different motor actions of the two hands.

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Danylo F. Cabral, Vinicius S. Santos, Oceano T.T. Pereira, Maria J. Silva, Alvaro Pascual-Leone, Tatjana Rundek, David A. Loewenstein, Neva Kirk-Sanchez, Augusto C.A. Oliveira, and Joyce Gomes-Osman

In this randomized controlled pilot trial, the authors explored the feasibility, technology compliance, and preliminary efficacy of the Education for Action (EDU-ACT), a multimodal intervention combining evidence-based strategies of physical activity (PA) education and coaching in PA levels over 4 weeks between EDU-ACT and control groups. The authors also assessed pre–post changes in neurocognitive function, functional mobility and dual-task performance, sleep and quality of life. Thirty-two sedentary older adults with memory complaints (age = 66 ± 5.3) completed the study (EDU-ACT = 18 and control = 14). The EDU-ACT adherence rate was 95%, and compliance of daily PA reporting was, on average, 22.7 days (94.6%). The EDU-ACT group demonstrated a significantly greater number of steps, processing speed, and dual-task performance when compared with controls (p < .05). In this study, a multimodal, evidence-based, low-cost intervention was feasible, well-accepted, with high adherence and compliance rates, and effective at promoting clinically meaningful increases in PA, for at least 1 month postintervention, in older adults with memory complaints.