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Synchronised oscillations of the human sensorimotor cortex

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Oscillations are a prominent feature of macroscopic human sensorimotor cortical activity as recorded non-invasively with electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG). The advent of whole-scalp MEG systems allowing rapid non-invasive recording from the entire cortex and accurate localisation of neural sources, and the development of refined signal analysis methods are important factors that led to an increasing interest in studies of sensorimotor oscillations during the last 10 years. Investigations on healthy subjects revealed frequency-specific localisation and modality-specific reactivity of 10 Hz and 20 Hz sensorimotor oscillations. Task-specific coherence between motor cortical and electromyographic oscillations, reflecting cortico-motoneuronal coupling, point towards a functional role of precentral oscillations in the cortical control of voluntary movements. Furthermore, abnormal cortico-motoneuronal coupling may underlie clinical symptoms of motor disorders, such as tremor. Thus, investigation of oscillatory sensorimotor activity proceeds from phenomenology to function and provides an interesting approach to address questions in human motor physiology and pathophysiology.
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A. Schnitzler, Department of Neurology, Heinrich-Heine-University, Moorenstrasse 5, D-40225 Dusseldorf, Germany,
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