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Neurosci Lett. 1996 May 24;210(1):45-8.

Direct and indirect activation of human corticospinal neurons by transcranial magnetic and electrical stimulation.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan.


Corticospinal volleys and surface electromyographic (EMG) responses evoked by magnetic and electrical transcranial stimulation were recorded simultaneously in three conscious human subjects. For magnetic stimulation, the figure-of-eight coil was held on the hand motor area either with the induced current through the brain flowing in a postero-anterior direction (P-A stimulation) or in a latero-medial direction (L-M stimulation). For electrical stimulation, the anode was placed 7 cm lateral to the vertex and cathode at the vertex (anodal stimulation). The P-A stimulation that was generally used preferentially evoked I waves, whereas the L-M and anodal stimulation preferentially evoked D wave. The results suggested that the mode of activation by transcranial magnetic stimulation altered, depending on its current direction, and the difference between P-M magnetic and electrical stimulation can be explained by the context of the D and I hypothesis.

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