Magnetic stimulation study during observation of motor tasks

J Neurol Sci. 2000 Mar 15;174(2):122-6. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(00)00271-9.


The aim of the study was to assess if the observation of single or more complex muscle movements activates the premotor cortex in man. We stimulated by transcranial magnetic stimulation the right and left motor cortex recording from the abductor pollicis brevis of eight normal subjects, during observation of different movements performed by the examiner: (1) single movements: thumb abduction, arm elevation; (2) motor sequences: finger opposing movements performed in an ordinate sequence: 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-2ellipsis, and in a non-consecutive non-repetitive order: 1-3, 1-5, 1-4, 1-2, 1-5, 1-2ellipsis We found an increased excitability of the right cortex during observation of isolated muscle movement regardless of which muscle is moved. At the stimulation of the left cortex, MEPs were significantly increased during observation of complex muscular synergies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Female
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Thumb / physiology