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Long-interval intracortical inhibition is asymmetric in young but not older adults

Vallence, A.M., Smalley, E., Drummond, P.D. and Hammond, G.R. (2017) Long-interval intracortical inhibition is asymmetric in young but not older adults. Journal of neurophysiology, 118 (3). pp. 1581-1590.

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Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/jn.00794.2016
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Abstract

Aging is typically accompanied by a decline in manual dexterity and handedness; the dominant hand executes tasks of manual dexterity more quickly and accurately than the nondominant hand in younger adults, but this advantage typically declines with age. Age-related changes in intracortical inhibitory processes might play a role in the age-related decline in manual dexterity. Long-interval intracortical inhibition (LICI) is asymmetric in young adults, with more sensitive and more powerful LICI circuits in the dominant hemisphere than in the nondominant hemisphere. Here we investigated whether the hemispheric asymmetry in LICI in younger adults persists in healthy older adults. Paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to measure LICI in the dominant and nondominant hemispheres of younger and older adults; LICI stimulus-response curves were obtained by varying conditioning stimulus intensity at two different interstimulus intervals [100 ms (LICI100) and 150 ms]. We have replicated the finding that LICI100 circuits are more sensitive and more powerful in the dominant than the nondominant hemisphere of young adults and extend this finding to show that the hemispheric asymmetry in LICI100 is lost with age. In the context of behavioral observations showing that dominant hand movements in younger adults are more fluent than nondominant hand movements in younger adults and dominant hand movements in older adults, we speculate a role of LICI100 in the age-related decline in manual dexterity.NEW & NOTEWORTHY In younger adults, more sensitive and more powerful long-interval intracortical inhibitory circuits are evident in the hemisphere controlling the more dexterous hand; this is not the case in older adults, for whom long-interval intracortical inhibitory circuits are symmetric and more variable than in younger adults. We speculate that the highly sensitive and powerful long-interval intracortical inhibition circuits in the dominant hemisphere play a role in manual dexterity.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: American Physiological Society
Copyright: © 2016 Journal of Neurophysiology
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/38857
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