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Andrew Hooyman, Alexander Garbin and Beth Fisher

Recent neuroimaging research has demonstrated that resting-state intracortical connectivity (i.e., the shared communication between two brain regions) can serve as a robust predictor of motor performance and learning. Theoretically, direct modulation of resting-state intracortical connectivity within the motor system could then improve motor performance and learning. However, previous neuromodulation techniques such as repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation may be limited in the capacity to modulate targeted intracortical connectivity. Paired Associative Stimulation (PAS) has shown efficacy in facilitating connectivity primarily between the central and peripheral nervous system based on the neuroplasticity mechanism of Spike Timing Dependent Plasticity. It may therefore be plausible for a reconfigured corticocortical PAS paradigm to modulate resting-state intracortical connectivity using a dual stimulator methodology over specific cortical nodes. However, potential theoretical and technological considerations of such a paradigm first need to be addressed prior to application for the purposes of manipulating motor behavior. We posit a corticocortical PAS paradigm used in conjunction with resting-state electroencephalography to demonstrate efficacy of potentiating motor learning associated resting-state intracortical connectivity within the human brain. Here we provide a precise PAS/EEG experimental design, details on data analysis, recommendations for maintaining scientific rigor, and preliminary proof of principle within a single-subject.

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Fuzhong Li, Peter Harmer, Karin A. Mack, David Sleet, K. John Fisher, Melvin A. Kohn, Lisa M. Millet, Junheng Xu, Tingzhong Yang, Beth Sutton and Yvaughn Tompkins

Background:

This study was designed to develop an evidence- and community-based falls prevention program—Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance.

Methods:

A mixed qualitative and quantitative approach was used to develop a package of materials for program implementation and evaluation. The developmental work was conducted in 2 communities in the Pacific Northwest. Participants included a panel of experts, senior service program managers or activity coordinators, and older adults. Outcome measures involved program feasibility and satisfaction.

Results:

Through an iterative process, a program package was developed. The package contained an implementation plan and class training materials (ie, instructor’s manual, videotape, and user’s guidebook). Pilot testing of program materials showed that the content was appropriate for the targeted users (community-living older adults) and providers (local senior service organizations). A feasibility survey indicated interest and support from users and providers for program implementation. A 2-week pilot evaluation showed that the program implementation was feasible and evidenced good class attendance, high participant satisfaction, and interest in continuing Tai Chi.

Conclusions:

The package of materials developed in this study provides a solid foundation for larger scale implementation and evaluation of the program in community settings.