Short- and long-latency afferent inhibition; uses, mechanisms and influencing factors
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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an ideal technique for non-invasively stimulating the brain and assessing intracortical processes. By delivering electrical stimuli to a peripheral nerve prior to a TMS pulse directed to the motor cortex, the excitability and integrity of the sensorimotor system can be probed at short and long time intervals (short latency afferent inhibition, long latency afferent inhibition). The goal of this review is to detail the experimental factors that influence the magnitude and timing of afferent inhibition in the upper limb and these include the intensity of nerve and TMS delivery, and the nerve composition. Second, the neural mechanisms of SAI are discussed highlighting the lack of existing knowledge pertaining to LAI. Third, the usage of SAI and LAI as a tool to probe cognition and sensorimotor function is explored with suggestions for future avenues of research.
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