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Exp Brain Res. 2006 Jun;172(1):14-21. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Low frequency transcranial magnetic stimulation on the posterior parietal cortex induces visuotopically specific neglect-like syndrome.

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  • 1Laboratory for Cerebral Dynamics, Plasticity and Rehabilitation, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


The visuo-parietal (VP) region of the cerebral cortex is critically involved in the generation of orienting responses towards visual stimuli. In this study we use repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to unilaterally and non-invasively deactivate the VP cortex during a simple spatial visual detection task tested in real space. Adult cats were intensively trained over 4 months on a task requiring them to detect and orient to a peripheral punctuate static LED presented at a peripheral location between 0 degrees and 90 degrees , to the right or left of a 0 degrees fixation target. In 16 different interleaved sessions, real or sham low frequency (1 Hz) rTMS was unilaterally applied during 20 min (1,200 pulses) to the VP cortex. The percentage of mistakes detecting and orienting to contralateral visual targets increased significantly during the 15-20 min immediately following real but not sham rTMS. Behavioral deficits were most marked in peripheral eccentricities, whereas more central locations were largely unaffected. Performance returned to baseline (pre-TMS) levels when animals were tested 45 min later and remained in pre-TMS levels 24 h after the end of the stimulation. Our results confirm that the VP cortex of the cat is critical for successful detection and orienting to visual stimuli presented in the corresponding contralateral visual field. In addition, we show that rTMS disrupts a robust behavioral task known to depend on VP cortex and does so for the far periphery of the visual field, but not for more central targets.

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