Functional magnetic resonance imaging of the human sensorimotor cortex using a novel vibrotactile stimulator

Neuroimage. 2002 Sep;17(1):421-30. doi: 10.1006/nimg.2002.1195.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the fMRI response of the sensorimotor cortex to a vibration paradigm produced by a novel vibrotactile stimulator. Fifteen contiguous slices covering the sensorimotor cortex parallel to the anterior (AC) and posterior commissure (PC) line were obtained with echoplanar magnetic resonance imaging at 1.5T. Cortical activity in ten healthy subjects (20-45 years) was investigated during vibration (50 Hz) of the palm of the right hand and compared to a finger-to-thumb tapping paradigm. For the vibration paradigm a mechanically driven vibration head was mounted on the palm of the right hand. The new vibration device produces vibration frequencies (1-130 Hz) and displacement amplitudes (0.5-4 mm) suitable to elicit the tonic vibratory reflex. The fMRI measurement during vibratory stimulation revealed activation in the pre- and postcentral gyrus in all subjects. These activations were comparable to the finger-to-thumb tapping paradigm. The advantages of the new MR compatible vibration device include effective transmission of the stimulus and controlled vibration frequencies and intensities. These preliminary fMRI results indicate that vibration can be an alternative paradigm for the evaluation of sensory and motor functions in patients unable to perform active motor paradigms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fingers / innervation
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Hand / innervation
  • Hand / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Vibration