Cerebral Cortex Activation Mapping upon Electrical Muscle Stimulation by 32-Channel Time-Domain Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy
The application of different EMS current thresholds on muscle activates not only the muscle but also peripheral sensory axons that send proprioceptive and pain signals to the cerebral cortex. A 32-channel time-domain fNIRS instrument was employed to map regional cortical activities under varied EMS current intensities applied on the right wrist extensor muscle. Eight healthy volunteers underwent four EMS at different current thresholds based on their individual maximal tolerated intensity (MTI), i.e., 10 % < 50 % < 100 % < over 100 % MTI. Time courses of the absolute oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin concentrations primarily over the bilateral sensorimotor cortical (SMC) regions were extrapolated, and cortical activation maps were determined by general linear model using the NIRS-SPM software. The stimulation-induced wrist extension paradigm significantly increased activation of the contralateral SMC region according to the EMS intensities, while the ipsilateral SMC region showed no significant changes. This could be due in part to a nociceptive response to the higher EMS current intensities and result also from increased sensorimotor integration in these cortical regions.
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