Neuromagnetic imaging reveals timing of volitional and anticipatory motor control in bimanual load lifting

Tommy H B Ng*, Paul F. Sowman, Jon Brock, Blake W. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    During bimanual load lifting, the brain not only contends with muscle activations in the load-lifting arm, but also has to pre-emptively modulate muscle activations in the load-bearing arm with temporal precision in order to minimize upward arm deflection. Premature or late inhibition in the load-bearing arm activity would result in augmented arm deflection. Little is currently known about the timing operation of motor systems subserving coordinated, bimanual actions. In this study, we measured neuromagnetic brain activity with whole-head magnetoencephalography while 15 participants performed a bimanual load-lifting task. To investigate neural processes prior to load lifting, a beamformer was applied to 6 contiguous 200. ms time epochs spanning the entire premovement phase of the motor task. The sequence of neural activations, following a signal to lift the weight, was chronologically ordered: firstly, the primary motor cortex contralateral to the load-lifting arm was activated, then the cerebellum, and lastly, the basal ganglia, thalamus and primary-/pre- motor areas contralateral to the load-bearing arm. The current data extend our understanding of the neural underpinnings of bimanual coordination. A model is proposed to account for the central organization of volitional and anticipatory motor control in bimanual load lifting.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)182-192
    Number of pages11
    JournalBehavioural Brain Research
    Volume247
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2013

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