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Open AccessArticle

Alterations in Motor Cortical Representation of Muscles Following Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury in Humans

Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(12), 225;
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 7 December 2018 / Accepted: 14 December 2018 / Published: 16 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Collection on Clinical Neuroscience)
(1) Background: The primary motor cortex (M1) experiences reorganization following spinal cord injury (SCI). However, there is a paucity of research comparing bilateral M1 organization in SCI and questions remain to be answered. We explored the presence of somatotopy within the M1 representation of arm muscles, and determined whether anatomical shifts in these representations occur, and investigated the symmetry in organization between the two hemispheres.; (2) Methods: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to map the representation of the biceps, flexor carpi radialis and abductor pollicis brevis (APB) bilaterally in nine individuals with chronic incomplete cervical spinal cord injury and nine aged- and handed-matched uninjured controls. TMS was delivered over a 6 × 5 point grid that encompassed M1 using an intensity specific to the resting motor threshold for each muscle tested.; (3) Results: Results indicate that, compared to controls, muscle representations in SCI are shifted medially but preserve a general somatotopic arrangement, and that territory dedicated to the APB muscle is greater.; (4) Conclusions: These findings demonstrate differences in the organization of M1 between able-bodied controls and those with incomplete cervical SCI. This altered organization may have future implications in understanding the functional deficits observed in SCI and rehabilitation techniques aimed at restoring function. View Full-Text
Keywords: TMS; SCI; motor cortex; somatotopy; reorganization; neurological injury TMS; SCI; motor cortex; somatotopy; reorganization; neurological injury
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Fassett, H.J.; Turco, C.V.; El-Sayes, J.; Nelson, A.J. Alterations in Motor Cortical Representation of Muscles Following Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury in Humans. Brain Sci. 2018, 8, 225.

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