Unimanual sensorimotor learning—A simultaneous EEG-fMRI aging study

Sabrina Chettouf, Paul Triebkorn, Andreas Daffertshofer, Petra Ritter

Sensorimotor coordination requires orchestrated network activity in the brain, mediated by inter- and intra-hemispheric interactions that may be affected by aging-related changes. We adopted a theoretical model, according to which intra-hemispheric inhibition from premotor to primary motor cortex is mandatory to compensate for inter-hemispheric excitation through the corpus callosum. To test this as a function of age we acquired electroencephalography (EEG) simultaneously with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in two groups of healthy adults (younger N = 13: 20–25 year and older N = 14: 59–70 year) while learning a unimanual motor task. On average, quality of performance of older participants stayed significantly below that of the younger ones. Accompanying decreases in motor-event-related EEG β-activity were lateralized toward contralateral motor regions, albeit more so in younger participants. In this younger group, the mean β-power during motor task execution was significantly higher in bilateral premotor areas compared to the older adults. In both groups, fMRI blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signals were positively correlated with source-reconstructed β-amplitudes: positive in primary motor and negative in premotor cortex. This suggests that β-amplitude modulation is associated with primary motor cortex “activation” (positive BOLD response) and premotor “deactivation” (negative BOLD response). Although the latter results did not discriminate between age groups, they underscore that enhanced modulation in primary motor cortex may be explained by a β-associated excitatory crosstalk between hemispheres.

Hum Brain Mapp 2022;43:23482364 (2022)


agingcoordinationintrahemispheric inhibitionmotor learningmotor networkperceptual motor behavior
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