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Breakdown in central motor control can be attenuated by motor practice and neuro-modulation of the primary motor cortex

Teo, W.P., Rodrigues, J.P., Mastaglia, F.L. and Thickbroom, G.W. (2012) Breakdown in central motor control can be attenuated by motor practice and neuro-modulation of the primary motor cortex. Neuroscience, 220 . pp. 11-18.

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The performance of a repetitive index finger flexion–extension task at maximal voluntary rate (MVR) begins to decline just a few seconds into the task and we have previously postulated that this breakdown has a central origin. To test this hypothesis, we have combined two objectives; to determine whether motor practice can lessen the performance deterioration in an MVR task, and whether further gains can be achieved with a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) protocol that increases corticomotor excitability (CME). Eleven right-handed subjects participated in a randomized crossover study design that consisted of a 15-min interventional TMS at I-wave periodicity (ITMS) and single-pulsed Sham intervention prior to six 10-s practice sets of a repetitive finger flexion–extension task at MVR. Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were recorded from the first dorsal interosseous muscle. The starting movement rate, and the percentage decline in rate by the end of the MVR were quantitated. Training of the MVR task improved the sustainability of the task by reducing the decline in movement rate. CME increased steadily after each training bout, and this increase was maintained up to 20 min after the last bout. ITMS further increased CME, and was associated with an increase in both the starting rate of the MVR task and its sustainability, when compared to Sham. The results implicate central motor processes in the performance and sustainability of the MVR task, and indicate that MVR kinematics can improve with short-term training and with non-invasive neuro-modulation.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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