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Myths and methodologies: how loud is the story told by the transcranial magnetic stimulation‐evoked silent period?

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journal contribution
posted on 09.03.2021, 16:03 by Jakob Skarabot, Ricardo NO Mesquita, Callum G Brownstein, Paul Ansdell
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the motor cortex evokes a response in the muscle that can be recorded via electromyography (EMG). One component of this response, when elicited during a voluntary contraction, is a period of EMG silence, termed the silent period (SP), which follows a motor evoked potential (MEP). Modulation of SP duration was long thought to reflect the degree of intracortical inhibition. However, the evidence presented in this review suggests that both cortical and spinal mechanisms contribute to generation of the SP, which makes prefacing SP with ‘cortical’ misleading. Further investigations with multi‐methodological approaches, such as TMS–EEG coupling or interaction of TMS with neuroactive drugs, are needed to make such inferences with greater confidence. A multitude of methodological factors can influence the SP and thus confound the interpretation of this measure; namely, background muscle activity, instructions given to the participant, stimulus intensity and the size of the MEP preceding the SP, and the approach to analysis. A systematic understanding of how the confounding factors influence the interpretation of SP is lacking, which makes standardization of the methodology difficult to conceptualize. Instead, the methodology should be guided through the lens of the research question and the population studied, ensuring greater reproducibility, repeatability and comparability of data sets. Recommendations are provided for the best practice within a given context of the experimental design.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Experimental Physiology

Volume

104

Issue

5

Pages

635 - 642

Publisher

Wiley

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© The Authors. Experimental Physiology © The Physiological Society

Publisher statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: ŠKARABOT, J. ... et al, 2019. Myths and methodologies: how loud is the story told by the transcranial magnetic stimulation‐evoked silent period? Experimental Physiology, 104 (5), pp.635– 642, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1113/EP087557. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Acceptance date

01/03/2019

Publication date

2019-03-24

Copyright date

2019

ISSN

0958-0670

eISSN

1469-445X

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Jakob Skarabot. Deposit date: 9 March 2021