Functional magnetic resonance imaging of single motor events reveals human presupplementary motor area.
Humberstone M., Sawle GV., Clare S., Hykin J., Coxon R., Bowtell R., Macdonald IA., Morris PG.
Conventional functional imaging paradigms use periods of repetitive task performance to generate sustained functional signal changes. We have developed a technique of imaging the small, transient signal changes that occur after single cognitive events. The technique uses echo-planar imaging at 3 T to generate functional images of the whole brain with a temporal resolution of 3 seconds. It uses a signal averaging technique to create time sweeps of functional activity. After a single cognitive event, widely distributed patterns of brain activation can be detected and their time course measured. This technique enables the individual cognitive tasks that constitute a paradigm to be analyzed separately and compared. We describe the application of this new technique to separate the cognitive elements in a simple "go/no-go" motor paradigm. Comparison of activation patterns during "go" and "no-go" responses reveals hierarchical subdivision of the medial premotor cortex into an anterior region (presupplementary motor area) involved in movement decision making and a posterior region (supplementary motor area proper) directly involved in motor execution.