Hand dominance and age have interactive effects on motor cortical representations.
ABSTRACT: Older adults exhibit more bilateral motor cortical activity during unimanual task performance than young adults. Interestingly, a similar pattern is seen in young adults with reduced hand dominance. However, older adults report stronger hand dominance than young adults, making it unclear how handedness is manifested in the aging motor cortex. Here, we investigated age differences in the relationships between handedness, motor cortical organization, and interhemispheric communication speed. We hypothesized that relationships between these variables would differ for young and older adults, consistent with our recent proposal of an age-related shift in interhemispheric interactions. We mapped motor cortical representations of the right and left first dorsal interosseous muscles using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in young and older adults recruited to represent a broad range of the handedness spectrum. We also measured interhemispheric communication speed and bimanual coordination. We observed that more strongly handed older adults exhibited more ipsilateral motor activity in response to TMS; this effect was not present in young adults. Furthermore, we found opposing relationships between interhemispheric communication speed and bimanual performance in the two age groups. Thus, handedness manifests itself differently in the motor cortices of young and older adults and has interactive effects with age.
Project description:Motor performance decline observed during aging is linked to changes in brain structure and function, however, the precise neural reorganization associated with these changes remains largely unknown. We investigated the neurophysiological correlates of this reorganization by quantifying functional and effective brain network connectivity in elderly individuals (n?=?11; mean age?=?67.5 years), compared to young adults (n?=?12; mean age?=?23.7?years), while they performed visually-guided unimanual and bimanual handgrips inside the magnetoencephalography (MEG) scanner. Through a combination of principal component analysis and Granger causality, we observed age-related increases in functional and effective connectivity in whole-brain, task-related motor networks. Specifically, elderly individuals demonstrated (i) greater information flow from contralateral parietal and ipsilateral secondary motor regions to the left primary motor cortex during the unimanual task and (ii) decreased interhemispheric temporo-frontal communication during the bimanual task. Maintenance of motor performance and task accuracy in elderly was achieved by hyperactivation of the task-specific motor networks, reflecting a possible mechanism by which the aging brain recruits additional resources to counteract known myelo- and cytoarchitectural changes. Furthermore, resting-state sessions acquired before and after each motor task revealed that both older and younger adults maintain the capacity to adapt to task demands via network-wide increases in functional connectivity. Collectively, our study consolidates functional connectivity and directionality of information flow in systems-level cortical networks during aging and furthers our understanding of neuronal flexibility in motor processes.
Project description:Background/Objective. We investigated interhemispheric interactions in stroke survivors by measuring transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)-evoked cortical coherence. We tested the effect of TMS on interhemispheric coherence during rest and active muscle contraction and compared coherence in stroke and older adults. We evaluated the relationships between interhemispheric coherence, paretic motor function, and the ipsilateral cortical silent period (iSP). Methods. Participants with (n = 19) and without (n = 14) chronic stroke either rested or maintained a contraction of the ipsilateral hand muscle during simultaneous recordings of evoked responses to TMS of the ipsilesional/nondominant (i/ndM1) and contralesional/dominant (c/dM1) primary motor cortex with EEG and in the hand muscle with EMG. We calculated pre- and post-TMS interhemispheric beta coherence (15-30 Hz) between motor areas in both conditions and the iSP duration during the active condition. Results. During active i/ndM1 TMS, interhemispheric coherence increased immediately following TMS in controls but not in stroke. Coherence during active cM1 TMS was greater than iM1 TMS in the stroke group. Coherence during active iM1 TMS was less in stroke participants and was negatively associated with measures of paretic arm motor function. Paretic iSP was longer compared with controls and negatively associated with clinical measures of manual dexterity. There was no relationship between coherence and. iSP for either group. No within- or between-group differences in coherence were observed at rest. Conclusions. TMS-evoked cortical coherence during hand muscle activation can index interhemispheric interactions associated with poststroke motor function and potentially offer new insights into neural mechanisms influencing functional recovery.
Project description:Converging evidence suggest that motor training is associated with early and late changes of the cortical motor system. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) offers the possibility to study plastic rearrangements of the motor system in physiological and pathological conditions. We used TMS to characterize long-term changes in upper limb motor cortical representation and interhemispheric inhibition associated with bimanual skill training in pianists who started playing in an early age. Ipsilateral silent period (iSP) and cortical TMS mapping of hand muscles were obtained from 30 strictly right-handed subjects (16 pianists, 14 naïve controls), together with electromyographic recording of mirror movements (MMs) to voluntary hand movements. In controls, motor cortical representation of hand muscles was larger on the dominant (DH) than on the non-dominant hemisphere (NDH). On the contrary, pianists showed symmetric cortical output maps, being their DH less represented than in controls. In naïve subjects, the iSP was smaller on the right vs left abductor pollicis brevis (APB) indicating a weaker inhibition from the NDH to the DH. In pianists, interhemispheric inhibition was more symmetric as their DH was better inhibited than in controls. Electromyographic MMs were observed only in naïve subjects (7/14) and only to voluntary movement of the non-dominant hand. Subjects with MM had a lower iSP area on the right APB compared with all the others. Our findings suggest a more symmetrical motor cortex organization in pianists, both in terms of muscle cortical representation and interhemispheric inhibition. Although we cannot disentangle training-related from preexisting conditions, it is possible that long-term bimanual practice may reshape motor cortical representation and rebalance interhemispheric interactions, which in naïve right-handed subjects would both tend to favour the dominant hemisphere.
Project description:Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used as an assessment or intervention to evaluate or influence brain activity in children with hemiparetic cerebral palsy (CP) commonly caused by perinatal stroke. This communication report analyzed data from two clinical trials using TMS to assess corticospinal excitability in children and young adults with hemiparetic CP. The results of this communication revealed a higher probability of finding a motor evoked potential (MEP) on the non-lesioned hemisphere compared to the lesioned hemisphere (p = 0.005). The resting motor threshold (RMT) was lower on the non-lesioned hemisphere than the lesioned hemisphere (p = 0.013). There was a significantly negative correlation between age and RMT (rs = -0.65, p = 0.003). This communication provides information regarding MEP responses, motor thresholds (MTs) and the association with age during TMS assessment in children with hemiparetic CP. Such findings contribute to the development of future pediatric studies in neuroplasticity and neuromodulation to influence motor function and recovery after perinatal stroke.
Project description:Objective: Data from previous cross-sectional studies have shown that an increased level of physical fitness is associated with improved motor dexterity across the lifespan. In addition, physical fitness is positively associated with increased laterality of cortical function during unimanual tasks; indicating that sedentary aging is associated with a loss of interhemispheric inhibition affecting motor performance. The present study employed exercise interventions in previously sedentary older adults to compare motor dexterity and measure of interhemispheric inhibition using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) after the interventions. Methods: Twenty-one community-dwelling, reportedly sedentary older adults were recruited, randomized and enrolled to a 12-week aerobic exercise group or a 12-week non-aerobic exercise balance condition. The aerobic condition was comprised of an interval-based cycling "spin" activity, while the non-aerobic "balance" exercise condition involved balance and stretching activities. Participants completed upper extremity dexterity batteries and estimates of VO2max in addition to undergoing single (ipsilateral silent period-iSP) and paired-pulse interhemispheric inhibition (ppIHI) in separate assessment sessions before and after study interventions. After each intervention during which heart rate was continuously recorded to measure exertion level (load), participants crossed over into the alternate arm of the study for an additional 12-week intervention period in an AB/BA design with no washout period. Results: After the interventions, regardless of intervention order, participants in the aerobic spin condition showed higher estimated VO2max levels after the 12-week intervention as compared to estimated VO2max in the non-aerobic balance intervention. After controlling for carryover effects due to the study design, participants in the spin condition showed longer iSP duration than the balance condition. Heart rate load was more strongly correlated with silent period duration after the Spin condition than estimated VO2. Conclusions: Aging-related changes in cortical inhibition may be influenced by 12-week physical activity interventions when assessed with the iSP. Although inhibitory signaling is mediates both ppIHI and iSP measures each TMS modality likely employs distinct inhibitory networks, potentially differentially affected by aging. Changes in inhibitory function after physical activity interventions may be associated with improved dexterity and motor control at least as evidence from this feasibility study show.
Project description:Objective:We investigated the preliminary efficacy of cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with bimanual training in children and young adults with unilateral cerebral palsy based on the principle of exaggerated interhemispheric inhibition (IHI). Methods:Eight participants with corticospinal tract (CST) connectivity from the lesioned hemisphere participated in an open-label study of 10 sessions of cathodal tDCS to the nonlesioned hemisphere (20 minutes) concurrently with bimanual, goal-directed training (120 minutes). We measured the frequency of adverse events and intervention efficacy with performance (bimanual-Assisting Hand Assessment (AHA)-and unimanual-Box and Blocks), self-report (Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM), ABILHAND), and neurophysiologic (motor-evoked potential amplitude, cortical silent period (CSP) duration, and motor mapping) assessments. Results:All participants completed the study with no serious adverse events. Three of 8 participants showed gains on the AHA, and 4 of 8 participants showed gains in Box and Blocks (more affected hand). Nonlesioned CSP duration decreased in 6 of 6 participants with analyzable data. Cortical representation of the first dorsal interosseous expanded in the nonlesioned hemisphere in 4 of 6 participants and decreased in the lesioned hemisphere in 3 of 4 participants with analyzable data. Conclusions:While goal achievement was observed, objective measures of hand function showed inconsistent gains. Neurophysiologic data suggests nonlinear responses to cathodal stimulation of the nonlesioned hemisphere. Future studies examining the contributions of activity-dependent competition and cortical excitability imbalances are indicated.
Project description:The execution of coordinated hand movements requires complex interactions between premotor and primary motor areas in the two hemispheres. The supplementary motor area (SMA) is involved in movement preparation and bimanual coordination. How the SMA controls bimanual coordination remains unclear, although there is evidence suggesting that the SMA could modulate interhemispheric interactions. With a delayed-response task, we investigated interhemispheric interactions underlying normal movement preparation and the role of the SMA in these interactions during the delay period of unimanual or bimanual hand movements. We used functional MRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation in 22 healthy volunteers (HVs), and then in two models of SMA dysfunction: (a) in the same group of HVs after transient disruption of the right SMA proper by continuous transcranial magnetic theta-burst stimulation; (b) in a group of 22 patients with congenital mirror movements (CMM), whose inability to produce asymmetric hand movements is associated with SMA dysfunction. In HVs, interhemispheric connectivity during the delay period was modulated according to whether or not hand coordination was required for the forthcoming movement. In HVs following SMA disruption and in CMM patients, interhemispheric connectivity was modified during the delay period and the interhemispheric inhibition was decreased. Using two models of SMA dysfunction, we showed that the SMA modulates interhemispheric interactions during movement preparation. This unveils a new role for the SMA and highlights its importance in coordinated movement preparation.
Project description:Coordinated bimanual control depends on information processing in different intra- and interhemispheric networks that differ with respect to task symmetry and laterality of execution. Aging and age-related cognitive impairments, but also sex can have detrimental effects on connectivity of these networks. We therefore expected effects of age, cognitive function and sex on bimanual force coordination. We furthermore expected these effects to depend on the characteristics of the task (i.e., difficulty and symmetry). 162 right handed participants (19 younger adults [YA], 21-30 years, 9 females; 52 cognitively healthy older adults [HOA], 80-91 years, 32 females; and 91 older adults with mild cognitive impairments [MCI] 80-91 years, 37 females) performed isometric bimanual force control tasks that required following constant or alternating (cyclic sine-wave) targets and varied in symmetry, i.e., (i) constant symmetric, asymmetric [with constant left and alternating right (ii) or vice versa (iii)], (iv) alternating in- and (v) alternating antiphase (both hands alternating with 0° or 180° relative phase, respectively). We analyzed general performance (time on target), bimanual coordination as coupling between hands (linear correlation coefficient) and structure of variability (i.e., complexity measured through detrended fluctuation analysis). Performance and coupling strongly depended on task symmetry and executing hand, with better performance in symmetric tasks and in asymmetric tasks when the left hand produced a constant and the right hand an alternating force. HOA and MCI, compared to YA, showed poorer performance (time on target) and reduced coupling in in- and antiphase tasks. Furthermore, both groups of OA displayed less complex structure in alternating force production tasks, a marker of reduced control. In addition, we found strong sex effects with females displaying reduced coupling during in- and antiphase coordination and less complex variably structure in constant force production. Results of this study revealed strong effects of age, but also sex on bimanual force control. Effects depended strongly on task symmetry and executing hand, possibly due to different requirements in interhemispheric information processing. So far, we found no clear relationship between behavioral markers of bimanual force control and age-related cognitive decline (compared to healthy aging), making further investigation necessary.
Project description:Interhemispheric interactions are important for arm coordination and hemispheric specialization. Unilateral voluntary static contraction is known to increase bilateral corticospinal motor evoked potential (MEP) amplitude. It is unknown how increasing and decreasing contraction affect the opposite limb. Since dynamic muscle contraction is more ecologically relevant to daily activities, we studied MEP recruitment using a novel method and short interval interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) from active to resting hemisphere at 4 phases of contralateral ECR contraction: Rest, Ramp Up [increasing at 25% of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC)], Execution (tonic at 50% MVC), and Ramp Down (relaxation at 25% MVC) in 42 healthy adults. We analyzed the linear portion of resting extensor carpi radialis (ECR) MEP recruitment by stimulating at multiple intensities and comparing slopes, expressed as mV per TMS stimulation level, via linear mixed modeling. In younger participants (age ? 30), resting ECR MEP recruitment slopes were significantly and equally larger both at Ramp Up (slope increase = 0.047, p < 0.001) and Ramp Down (slope increase = 0.031, p < 0.001) compared to rest, despite opposite directions of force change. In contrast, Active ECR MEP recruitment slopes were larger in Ramp Down than all other phases (Rest:0.184, p < 0.001; Ramp Up:0.128, p = 0.001; Execution: p = 0.003). Older (age ? 60) participants' resting MEP recruitment slope was higher than younger participants across all phases. IHI did not reduce MEP recruitment slope equally in old compared to young. In conclusion, our data indicate that MEP recruitment slope in the resting limb is affected by the homologous active limb contraction force, irrespective of the direction of force change. The active arm MEP recruitment slope, in contrast, remains relatively unaffected. Older participants had steeper MEP recruitment slopes and less interhemispheric inhibition compared to younger participants.
Project description:Current society has to deal with major challenges related to our constantly increasing population of older adults. Since, motor performance generally deteriorates at older age, research investigating the effects of different types of training on motor improvement is particularly important. Here, we tested the effects of contextual interference (CI) while learning a bimanual coordination task in both young and older subjects. Both age groups acquired a low and high complexity task variant following either a blocked or random practice schedule. Typical CI effects, i.e., better overall performance during acquisition but detrimental effects during retention for the blocked compared with the random groups, were found for the low complexity task variant in both age groups. With respect to the high complexity task variant, no retention differences between both practice schedules were found. However, following random practice, better skill persistence (i.e., from end of acquisition to retention) over a 1 week time interval was observed for both task complexity variants and in both age groups. The current study provides clear evidence that the effects of different practice schedules on learning a complex bimanual task are not modulated by age.