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Combining transcranial magnetic stimulation and functional imaging in cognitive brain research: possibilities and limitations

Sack, Alexander T. and Linden, David Edmund Johannes 2003. Combining transcranial magnetic stimulation and functional imaging in cognitive brain research: possibilities and limitations. Brain Research Reviews 43 (1) , pp. 41-56. 10.1016/S0165-0173(03)00191-7

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Abstract

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a widely used tool for the non-invasive study of basic neurophysiological processes and the relationship between brain and behavior. We review the physical and physiological background of TMS and discuss the large body of perceptual and cognitive studies, mainly in the visual domain, that have been performed with TMS in the past 15 years. We compare TMS with other neurophysiological and neuropsychological research tools and propose that TMS, compared with the classical neuropsychological lesion studies, can make its own unique contribution. As the main focus of this review, we describe the different approaches of combining TMS with functional neuroimaging techniques. We also discuss important shortcomings of TMS, especially the limited knowledge concerning its physiological effects, which often make the interpretation of TMS results ambiguous. We conclude with a critical analysis of the resulting conceptual and methodological limitations that the investigation of functional brain–behavior relationships still has to face. We argue that while some of the methodological limitations of TMS applied alone can be overcome by combination with functional neuroimaging, others will persist until its physical and physiological effects can be controlled.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Psychology
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Transcranial magnetic stimulation; Cognition; Vision; Functional imaging; Brain–behavior relationship; Methods in neuroscience
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0165-0173
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:13
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/34791

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