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Psychiatry Res. 1998 Jul 15;83(1):7-22.

Hemispheric control of motor function: a whole brain echo planar fMRI study.

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Clinical Brain Disorders Branch, NIMH, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The aim of this study was to explore whether recruitment of the ipsilateral motor cortex during non-dominant motor movement reflects left hemispheric control of motor function or simply the greater complexity or unfamiliarity of the motor task. BOLD fMRI was performed in normal right-handers during two motor tasks: (1) sequential finger movements (SM task) with the right or left hand; and (2) random finger movements (RM task) with the right hand. In all subjects, activation was predominantly in the contralateral motor areas (primary sensorimotor, lateral premotor, parietal and supplementary motor regions) and ipsilateral cerebellum. While the ipsilateral motor areas were also activated, single subject analysis revealed these areas to be more extensive and to be seen in more subjects during the non-dominant hand SM task and dominant hand RM task than during the more familiar dominant hand SM task. Similarly, group analysis also revealed ipsilateral activation in the primary sensorimotor and lateral premotor areas, but only during the non-dominant SM task and the dominant hand RM task. Non-dominant hand movements, perhaps because they are less 'automatic', appear to require more cortical activity similar to complex tasks with the dominant hand, and result in greater recruitment of ipsilateral cortical motor areas and striatum. The study also illustrates how potentially meaningful subtleties seen on individual maps may be obscured with group averaging approaches.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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