, Volume 99, Issue 2, pp 309-315

Activation of the human posterior parietal cortex by median nerve stimulation

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Abstract

We recorded somatosensory evoked magnetic fields from ten healthy, right-handed subjects with a 122-channel whole-scalp SQUID magnetometer. The stimuli, exceeding the motor threshold, were delivered alternately to the left and right median nerves at the wrists, with interstimulus intervals of 1, 3, and 5 s. The first responses, peaking around 20 and 35 ms, were explained by activation of the contralateral primary somatosensory cortex (SI) hand area. All subjects showed additional deflections which peaked after 85 ms; the source locations agreed with the sites of the secondary somatosensory cortices (SII) in both hemispheres. The SII responses were typically stronger in the left than the right hemisphere. All subjects had an additional source, not previously reported in human evoked response data, in the contralateral parietal cortex. This source was posterior and medial to the SI hand area, and evidently in the wall of the postcentral sulcus. It was most active at 70–110 ms.