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Differential representation of arm movement direction in relation to cortical anatomy and function

Tonio Ball et al 2009 J. Neural Eng. 6 016006 (16pp)   doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/6/1/016006  Help

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Tonio Ball1,2,5, Andreas Schulze-Bonhage1,2, Ad Aertsen2,3 and Carsten Mehring2,4
1 Epilepsy Center, University Clinic, Albert-Ludwigs-University, 79095 Freiburg, Germany
2 Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Albert-Ludwigs-University, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
3 Neurobiology & Biophysics, Institute for Biology III, Albert-Ludwigs-University, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
4 Neurobiology & Animal Physiology, Institute for Biology I, Albert-Ludwigs-University, 79104 Freiburg, Germany
5 Address for correspondence: Epilepsy Center, University Clinic Freiburg, Breisacherstr. 64, 79106, Freiburg, Germany

Abstract. Information about arm movement direction in neuronal activity of the cerebral cortex can be used for movement control mediated by a brain–machine interface (BMI). Here we provide a topographic analysis of the information related to arm movement direction that can be extracted from single trials of electrocorticographic (ECoG) signals recorded from the human frontal and parietal cortex based on a precise assignment of ECoG recording channels to the subjects' individual cortical anatomy and function. To this aim, each electrode contact was identified on structural MRI scans acquired while the electrodes were implanted and was thus related to the brain anatomy of each patient. Cortical function was assessed by direct cortical electrical stimulation. We show that activity from the primary motor cortex, in particular from the region showing hand and arm motor responses upon electrical stimulation, carries most directional information. The premotor, posterior parietal and lateral prefrontal cortex contributed gradually less, but still significant information. This gradient was observed for decoding from movement-related potentials, and from spectral amplitude modulations in low frequencies and in the high gamma band. Our findings thus demonstrate a close topographic correlation between cortical functional anatomy and direction-related information in humans that might be used for brain–machine interfacing.

Print publication: Issue 1 (February 2009)
Received 28 July 2008, accepted for publication 16 December 2008
Published 20 January 2009

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