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Functional Magnetic Resonance Image Finding of Cortical Activation by Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation on Wrist Extensor Muscles

Han, Bong Soo PhD; Jang, Sung Ho MD; Chang, Yongmin PhD; Byun, Woo Mok MD; Lim, Seung Kwan MS; Kang, Duk Sik MD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: January 2003 - Volume 82 - Issue 1 - pp 17-20
Research Article: Electrical Stimulation

Han BS, Jang SH, Chang Y, Byun WM, Lim SK, Kang DS: Functional magnetic resonance image finding of cortical activation by neuromuscular electrical stimulation on wrist extensor muscles. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2003;82:17–20.

Objective: To investigate the effects that neuromuscular electrical stimulation on the wrist extensor muscles have on the cerebral cortex.

Design: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study was performed on eight normal volunteers. The activation task was the maximum wrist extension by neuromuscular electrical stimulation, applied through a two-channel electrical stimulator. Monophasic square-wave pulses were used. The activation maps were generated by the threshold t test maps. The level of primary motor cortex and primary sensory cortex activations was estimated.

Results: Among the eight subjects, seven showed significant activation on contralateral primary sensorimotor cortex by neuromuscular electrical stimulation on the wrist extensor muscles. In these seven subjects, additional bilateral or contralateral supplementary motor area activations were also observed. The number of activated pixels on the primary sensory cortex was slightly greater than that on the primary motor cortex.

Conclusion: Neuromuscular electrical stimulation, when applied to the peripheral muscles, seems to have a direct effect on the cerebral cortex.

From the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (SHJ) and Diagnostic Radiology (WMB), Yeungnam University School of Medicine, Taegu, South Korea; The Department of Radiology, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Taegu, South Korea (BSH, YC, DSK); and the Department of Physiology, Wonkwang University School of Medicine, Taegu, South Korea (SKL).

Supported by a Yeungnam University research grant in 2001, and Dr. Han was supported, in part, by a postdoctoral grant from the Kyungpook National University.

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Sung Ho Jang, MD, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, School of Medicine, Yeungnam University, 317-1, Daenyungdong, Namku, Taegu 705-717, South Korea.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.