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Brain Res Rev. 2006 Aug 30;52(1):183-92. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

The novelty value of the combined use of electroencephalography and transcranial magnetic stimulation for neuroscience research.

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HUS Medical Imaging Center, University of Helsinki, PO Box 340, FIN-00029 HUS, Finland.


Electroencephalographic (EEG) responses measured simultaneously with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) have opened a new window into the human nervous system. The combined use of TMS and EEG (TMS-EEG) provides a means for the detailed study of the reactivity of any cortical region in the intact brain; also the reactivities of non-motor cortical areas related with higher-order functions are now appreciable. A recent epochal finding concerning cortical reactivity is that neuronal activation is induced with remarkably low stimulation intensities. This knowledge is significant when optimizing experimental set-ups for maximal patient safety. Stimulation of different cortical areas evokes different patterns of remote EEG activity, confirming the viability of TMS-EEG for the study of corticocortical connections. In this review, we expand on these and other notable findings related with TMS-EEG. We discuss the possibilities of the technique for the study of cortical reactivity and connectivity. We show that TMS-EEG allows the study of interhemispheric connections with high spatiotemporal specificity and the assessment of cortical reactivity with excellent sensitivity.

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