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Publication Detail
Motor and phosphene thresholds: a transcranial magnetic stimulation correlation study.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Stewart LM, Walsh V, Rothwell JC
  • Publication date:
    2001
  • Pagination:
    415, 419
  • Journal:
    Neuropsychologia
  • Volume:
    39
  • Issue:
    4
  • Status:
    Published
  • Country:
    England
  • Print ISSN:
    0028-3932
  • PII:
    S0028-3932(00)00130-5
  • Language:
    eng
  • Keywords:
    Adult, Cerebral Cortex, Electric Stimulation, Female, Humans, Male, Motor Skills, Phosphenes, Reproducibility of Results, Sensory Thresholds, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the stability of visual phosphene thresholds and to assess whether they correlate with motor thresholds. BACKGROUND: Currently, motor threshold is used as an index of cortical sensitivity so that in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) experiments, intensity can be set at a given percentage of this value. It is not known whether this is a reasonable index of cortical sensitivity in non-motor and hence whether it should be used in experiments where other cortical areas are targeted. Previous studies have indicated that phosphene threshold might be a suitable alternative in TMS studies of the visual system. METHOD: Using single pulse TMS visual phosphene and motor thresholds were measured in 15 subjects. Both thresholds were retested in seven of these subjects a week later. RESULT: Visual phosphene thresholds, though stable within subjects across the two sessions, showed greater variability than motor thresholds. There was no correlation between the two measures. CONCLUSION: TMS motor thresholds cannot be assumed to be a guide to visual cortex excitability and by extension are probably an inappropriate guide to the cortical excitability of other non-motor areas of the brain. Phosphene thresholds are proposed as a potential standard for inter-individual comparison in visual TMS experiments.
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