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Low frequency corlico-muscular coherence during voluntary rapid movements of the wrist joint

Conway, B.A. and Reid, C.S. and Halliday, D.M. (2004) Low frequency corlico-muscular coherence during voluntary rapid movements of the wrist joint. Brain Topography, 16 (4). pp. 221-224. ISSN 0896-0267

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Rapid voluntary point-to-point wrist tracking movements are generated by the co-operative action of a large number of wrist muscles activated in a stereotypic pattern. This pattern is composed of a two burst sequence occurring in synergist and antagonist muscles. The time course and duration of these bursts are relatively fixed but the burst magnitude in any one muscle varies in relation to the direction of movement and the preferred directional tuning characteristic of the muscle. This creates a highly adaptive method for generating fast movements to different positions in space. In this study we have examined the extent to which this adaptive burst behaviour can be associated with activity changes occurring in the contralateral motor cortex. Time dependent coherence estimates were obtained from simultaneous recordings of the electroencephalogram (EEG) made from the contralateral sensorimotor cortex and the electromyogram (EMG) from various wrist flexor and extensor muscles during fast point-to-point wrist tracking movements. Using the onset of movement as a trigger, event related coherence estimates reveal the presence of short lasting periods of low frequency (<12 Hz) coherence during the execution of fast wrist movements. The onset and duration of the periods of low frequency coherence vary with direction of movement and the temporal burst profile of a particular muscle's EMG activity. It is therefore likely that a significant low frequency activation of the motor cortex plays a part in the generation of the EMG burst patterns that underpin rapid point-to-point movements of the human wrist.