Combining Multiple Data Acquisition Systems to Study Corticospinal Output and Multi-segment Biomechanics
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Transcranial magnetic stimulation techniques allow for an in-depth investigation into the neural mechanisms that underpin human behavior. To date, the use of TMS to study human movement, has been limited by the challenges related to precisely timing the delivery of TMS to features of the unfolding movement and, also, by accurately characterizing kinematics and kinetics. To overcome these technical challenges, TMS delivery and acquisition systems should be integrated with an online motion tracking system. The present manuscript details technical innovations that integrate multiple acquisition systems to facilitate and advance the use of TMS to study human movement. Using commercially available software and hardware systems, a step-by-step approach to both the hardware assembly and the software scripts necessary to perform TMS studies triggered by specific features of a movement is provided. The approach is focused on the study of upper limb, planar, multi-joint reaching movements. However, the same integrative system is amenable to a multitude of sophisticated studies of human motor control.
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