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PLoS One. 2019 Oct 18;14(10):e0223986. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223986. eCollection 2019.

No effect of triple-pulse TMS medial to intraparietal sulcus on online correction for target perturbations during goal-directed hand and foot reaches.

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Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
Biopsychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Sports Science, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany.
Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany.


Posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is central to sensorimotor processing for goal-directed hand and foot movements. Yet, the specific role of PPC subregions in these functions is not clear. Previous human neuroimaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) work has suggested that PPC lateral to the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) is involved in directing the arm, shaping the hand, and correcting both finger-shaping and hand trajectory during movement. The lateral localization of these functions agrees with the comparably lateral position of the hand and fingers within the motor and somatosensory homunculi along the central sulcus; this might suggest that, in analogy, (goal-directed) foot movements would be mediated by medial portions of PPC. However, foot movement planning activates similar regions for both hand and foot movement along the caudal-to-rostral axis of PPC, with some effector-specificity evident only rostrally, near the central regions of sensorimotor cortex. Here, we attempted to test the causal involvement of PPC regions medial to IPS in hand and foot reaching as well as online correction evoked by target displacement. Participants made hand and foot reaches towards identical visual targets. Sometimes, the target changed position 100-117 ms into the movement. We disturbed cortical processing over four positions medial to IPS with three pulses of TMS separated by 40 ms, both during trials with and without target displacement. We timed TMS to disrupt reach execution and online correction. TMS did not affect endpoint error, endpoint variability, or reach trajectories for hand or foot. While these negative results await replication with different TMS timing and parameters, we conclude that regions medial to IPS are involved in planning, rather than execution and online control, of goal-directed limb movements.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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