The representation of the plegic hand in the motor cortex: a combined fMRI and TMS study

Neuroreport. 2000 Jan 17;11(1):147-50. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200001170-00029.


TMS mapping and fMRI were used to investigate changes in the motor cortex representation of the hand in a patient with complete loss of right hand function following traumatic avulsion of the cervical roots C7 and C8. Both TMS and fMRI demonstrated an expansion of the motor representation of the forearm into the hand area contralateral to the injured side. fMRI of the hand area, however, revealed that this area could still be activated when the patient was instructed to imagine finger tapping with his plegic hand. These results indicate that the plegic hand is still represented in the motor cortex, despite the fact that the same cortical area is also now active during movements involving forearm muscles.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Mapping
  • Evoked Potentials, Motor / physiology
  • Hand / innervation
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imagination / physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Male
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Muscular Atrophy / physiopathology
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Paralysis / physiopathology*


  • Oxygen