Quantifying connectivity via efferent and afferent pathways in motor control using coherence measures and joint position perturbations
The applicability of corticomuscular coherence (CMC) as a connectivity measure is limited since only 40–50 % of the healthy population presents significant CMC. In this study, we applied continuous joint position perturbations to obtain a more reliable measure of connectivity in motor control. We evaluated the coherence between joint position perturbations and EEG (position-cortical coherence, PCC) and CMC. Healthy subjects performed two isotonic force tasks against the handle of a wrist manipulator. The baseline task was isometric; in the perturbed task, the handle moved continuously with small amplitude. The position perturbation signal covered frequencies between 5 and 29 Hz. In the perturbed task, all subjects had significant PCC and 86 % of the subjects had significant CMC, on both stimulus and non-stimulus frequencies. In the baseline task, CMC was present in only 45 % of the subjects, mostly on beta-band frequencies. The position perturbations during an isotonic force task elicited PCC in all subjects and elicited CMC in most subjects on both stimulus and non-stimulus frequencies. Perturbed CMC possibly arises by two separate processes: an intrinsic process, similar to the process in an unperturbed task, involving both efferent and afferent pathways; and a process related to the excitation of the afferent and efferent pathways by the perturbation. These processes cannot be separated. PCC, however, reflects connectivity via the afferent pathways only. As PCC was present in all healthy subjects, we propose this coherence as a reliable measure for connectivity in motor control via the afferent pathways.
KeywordsCoherence EEG EMG Proprioception Motor control Perturbations Afferent pathways Efferent pathways
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