Somatotopy of the human arm using fMRI

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Abstract

WE describe a technique for mapping out human somatosensory cortex using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). To produce cortical activation, a pneumatic apparatus presented subjects with a periodic series of air puffs in which a sliding window of five locations moved along the ventral surface of the left arm in a proximal-to-distal or distal-to-proximal direction. This approach, in which the phase-delay of the stimulus can be used to produce somatotopic maps of somatosensory cortex, is based on a method used to generate retinotopic maps of visual cortex. Functional images were acquired using an echoplanar 1.5T scanner and a T2*- weighted spiral acquisition pulse sequence. The periodic series of air puffs created phase-related activation in two cortical regions of the contralateral parietal lobe, the posterior bank of the central sulcus and a more posterior and lateral region.

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