Current direction specificity of continuous theta-burst stimulation in modulating human motor cortex excitability when applied to somatosensory cortex
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The present study examines the influence of primary somatosensory cortex (SI) on corticospinal excitability within primary motor cortex (M1) using repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. Two groups of subjects participated and both received continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) over SI. One group received cTBS oriented to induce anterior-to-posterior (AP) followed by posterior-to-anterior (PA) current flow in the cortex and the other group received cTBS in the opposite direction (PA-AP). Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were measured from the first dorsal interosseous muscle of the left and right hand before and at three time points (5, 25, 45 min) following cTBS over left-hemisphere SI. CTBS over SI in the AP-PA direction increased contralateral MEPs at 5 and 45 min with a near significant increase at 25 min. In contrast, PA-AP cTBS decreased contralateral MEPs at 25 min. We conclude that cTBS over SI modulates neural output directed to the hand with effects that depend on the direction of induced current.
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