Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
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Characterization of cortical activation patterns during movement of the upper extremity in healthy adults is helpful in understanding recovery mechanisms following neurological disorders. This study explores cortical activation patterns associated with movements of the shoulder and fingers in healthy adults using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Twelve healthy right-handed participants were recruited. Two motor tasks (shoulder abduction and finger extension) with two different trial lengths (10 s and 20 s) were performed in a sitting position at a rate of 0.5 Hz. The hemodynamic response, as indicated by oxy-hemoglobin (HbO) and deoxy-hemoglobin (HbR), over both hemispheres was acquired using a 54-channel fNIRS system. We found a generalized bilateral cortical activation during both motor tasks with greater activation in the contralateral compared to the ipsilateral primary motor cortex. Particularly in the more medial part of the contralateral hemisphere, significant higher activation was found during the shoulder compared to finger movements. Furthermore, cortical activation patterns are affected not only by motor tasks but also by trial lengths. HbO is more sensitive to detect cortical activation during finger movements in longer trials, while HbR is a better surrogate to capture active areas during shoulder movement in shorter trials. Based on these findings, reporting both HbO and HbR is strongly recommended for future fNIRS studies, and trial lengths should be taken into account when designing experiments and explaining results. Our findings demonstrating distinct cortical activation patterns associated with shoulder and finger movements in healthy adults provide a foundation for future research to study recovery mechanisms following neurological disorders.
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