Coherence between magnetoencephalography and hand-action-related acceleration, force, pressure, and electromyogram

Harri Piitulainen, Mathieu Bourguignon, Xavier De Tiege, Riitta Hari, Veikko Jousmaki

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Hand velocity and acceleration are coherent with magnetoencephalographic (MEG) signals recorded from the contralateral primary sensorimotor (SM1) cortex. To learn more of this interaction, we compared the coupling of MEG signals with four hand-action-related peripheral signals: acceleration, pressure, force, and electromyogram (EMG).

Fifteen subjects performed self-paced repetitive hand-action tasks for 3.5 min at a rate of about 3 Hz. Either acceleration, pressure or force signal was acquired with MEG and EMG signals during (1) flexions–extensions of right-hand fingers, with thumb touching the other fingers (acceleration; free), (2) dynamic index–thumb pinches against an elastic rubber ball attached to a pressure sensor (pressure and acceleration; squeeze), and (3) brief fixed-finger-position index–thumb pinches against a rigid load cell (force; fixed-pinch).

Significant coherence occurred between MEG and all the four peripheral measures at the fundamental frequency of the hand action (F0) and its first harmonic (F1). In all tasks, the cortical sources contributing to the cross-correlograms were located at the contralateral hand SM1 cortex, with average inter-source distance (mean ± SEM) of 9.5 ± 0.3 mm. The coherence was stronger with respect to pressure (0.40 ± 0.03 in squeeze) and force (0.38 ± 0.04 in fixed-pinch) than acceleration (0.24 ± 0.03 in free) and EMG (0.25 ± 0.02 in free, and 0.29 ± 0.04 in fixed-pinch).

The results imply that the SM1 cortex is strongly coherent at F0 and F1 with hand-action-related pressure and force, in addition to the previously demonstrated EMG, velocity, and acceleration. All these measures, especially force and pressure, are potential tools for functional mapping of the SM1 cortex.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Accelerometer
  • Corticokinematic coherence
  • Corticomuscular coherence
  • Kinetics
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Sensorimotor cortex

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