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Neuroreport. 2001 Nov 16;12(16):3543-8.

Functional MRI of cortical activations induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

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Biomedizinische NMR Forschungs GmbH am Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie, 37070 Göttingen, Germany.


The effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) on human brain activity and associated hemodynamics were investigated by blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) MRI using echo-planar imaging at 2.0 T. Apart from bilateral activation of the auditory cortex by the audible rTMS discharges (23 bursts, 1 s duration, 10 Hz, 10-20 s interstimulus intervals), BOLD responses were restricted to cortical representations of actual finger movements performed either voluntarily or evoked by suprathreshold rTMS of the motor cortex. Neither subthreshold rTMS of the motor cortex nor suprathreshold rTMS of the lateral premotor cortex induced a detectable BOLD response. These findings suggest that neuronal depolarization as induced by rTMS modulates the spiking output of a brain area but does not automatically alter cerebral blood flow and oxygenation. The observation of BOLD MRI activations probably reflects the afferent intracortical processing of real movements.

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