Functional and Neurophysiological Correlates of Corticospinal Function in Human Aging

Functional and Neurophysiological Correlates of Corticospinal Function in Human Aging

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Title: Functional and Neurophysiological Correlates of Corticospinal Function in Human Aging
Author: Davidson, Travis
Abstract: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive technique that can be used to assess the integrity neuronal circuits in the motor cortex, both at the intrahemispheric and interhemispheric level. In the present study, TMS was used to examine age-related modulation of corticospinal function. Participants underwent hand function testing to examine possible links between TMS measures and manual ability. Participants consisted of healthy young (n=13) and senior (n=17) right-handed individuals. Hand function testing consisted of a battery of tests administered bilaterally to assess each participant’s dexterity, strength, movement speed and reaction time. The following TMS measures were assessed bilaterally: resting motor threshold, recruitment curve and silent periods of the contralateral and ipsilateral hand. Both young and senior subjects showed significant intermanual differences in most behavioral measures, favoring their dominant right hand. There was an age-related difference in TMS measures indicating a decline in intrahemispheric excitability and interhemispheric inhibition. A general trend linking specific TMS measures in the active state with age-related changes in hand function on the dominant hand was found. Our results suggest that TMS markers of corticospinal excitability can be used to predict declining hand function with age and thus could provide an early diagnosis of pathological aging.
Date: 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/20194
Supervisor: Tremblay, François
Faculty: Sciences de la santé / Health Sciences
Degree: MSc

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