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Investigating the test-retest reliability of motor cortex excitability using transcranial magnetic stimulation

Qasem, Hassan (2019) Investigating the test-retest reliability of motor cortex excitability using transcranial magnetic stimulation. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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The coordination of movement, from the process of deciding how to move to the accurate execution of that movement, is what allows for successful interaction with the environment. The study of the motor cortex provides insight into what constitutes normal and abnormal patterns of movement. Research using a non-invasive brain stimulation technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has suggested that intracortical facilitation, that is facilitatory neural activity in the primary motor cortex, plays an important role in motor control. One form of facilitation known as short-interval intracortical facilitation (SICF), can be measured using a paired-pulse protocol of TMS. However, the reliability of this protocol has yet to be established. The current study aimed to investigate the test-retest reliability of paired-pulse TMS to measure SICF in healthy younger adults (N = 16). In addition, the current study explored the relationship between SICF and manual dexterity as measured by the Purdue pegboard test. Results indicated excellent test-retest reliability of SICF magnitude. Finally, SICF magnitude was found to be positively associated with right-hand performance in the Purdue pegboard test. Taken together, the findings of the current study suggest that SICF can be reliably measured by TMS across different sessions. The current study contributes to the literature suggesting that SICF is important for motor control. Further, this understanding of the role of SICF in the healthy brain could provide avenues for future research to examine SICF in people with movement or neurological disorders affecting motor control.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Supervisor(s): Vallence, Anne-Marie
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