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Percept Mot Skills. 2005 Oct;101(2):575-86.

Rapid plastic changes of human primary motor cortex with repetitive motor practice and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

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Division of Sports and Health Sciences, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University, 1-5-I Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima City, Hiroshima, 739-8529 Japan.


Excitability changes of human primary motor cortex are assumed to be associated with motor learning processes. To examine motor behavioral and neural mechanisms in these processes, the adaptive motor learning processes of the index finger abduction were investigated using motor evoked potential (MEP) elicited from the first dorsal interosseous and extensor carpi radialis muscles. Practice effects were examined on changes of MEP amplitudes elicited from these muscles during motor imagery. Given general consensus that the MEP amplitude change during motor imagery is a useful parameter reflecting changes in excitability of the human primary motor cortex, the present results, that MEP amplitudes of both muscles increased with repeated practice by the index finger abduction and that magnitudes of MEP amplitudes of both muscles (motor learning curves) were clearly different, suggested that participation of the muscles performing the index finger abduction gradually changed with practice. Short-term plastic changes of human primary motor cortex occur with repetitive practice and such adaptive change in human primary motor cortex is expressed in human voluntary movement that becomes more automatic.

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