The effect of coil placement and orientation on the assessment of focal excitability in motor mapping with navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation
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CitationReijonen, Jusa. Säisänen, Laura. Könönen, Mervi. Mohammadi, Ali. Julkunen, Petro. (2019). The effect of coil placement and orientation on the assessment of focal excitability in motor mapping with navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation. Journal of neuroscience methods, 331, 108521. 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2019.108521.
Navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) is used for mapping muscle representations in the primary motor cortex. We used sulcus-aligned mapping and electric field (E-field) modeling to investigate the excitability of the motor hand area for further understanding the methodological limitations of nTMS.
We studied 10 healthy volunteers to locate the cortical target eliciting the largest responses (the hotspot) in the first dorsal interosseous (FDI) muscle. Six additional targets were placed along the central sulcus at 5-mm distances. Resting motor thresholds (rMTs) and optimal coil orientations were determined at all targets, and a conventional motor mapping was conducted. The cortical E-fields, induced by stimulating the targets with rMT intensities and optimal coil orientations, were modeled in a realistic head geometry to estimate the activated cortical sites.
The rMTs increased with increasing distance from the hotspot (p < 0.001). The greatest motor-evoked potential (MEP) amplitudes occurred with the coil perpendicular to the sulcus and with the coil pointing towards the hotspot or the center of gravity of the motor map. The E-field strengths at the hotspot (99±26 V/m) remained above previously estimated thresholds for activation.
Comparison with existing methods
Depending on the target location, optimal coil orientations may deviate significantly from the conventional perpendicular-to-sulcus angle, which is often assumed optimal. These orientations seem to maintain the E-field stable in the hand knob, regardless of the sulcal shape near the stimulated target.
The coil orientation is crucial for the accuracy of motor mapping, and the apparent motor map may extend due to remote hotspot activation