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Studying the role of human parietal cortex in visuospatial attention with concurrent TMS-fMRI


Blankenburg, F; Ruff, Christian C; Bestmann, S; Bjoertomt, O; Josephs, O; Deichmann, R; Driver, J (2010). Studying the role of human parietal cortex in visuospatial attention with concurrent TMS-fMRI. Cerebral Cortex, 20(11):2702-2711.

Abstract

Combining transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with concurrent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows study of how local brain stimulation may causally affect activity in remote brain regions. Here, we applied bursts of high- or low-intensity TMS over right posterior parietal cortex, during a task requiring sustained covert visuospatial attention to either the left or right hemifield, or in a neutral control condition, while recording blood oxygenation-level-dependent signal with a posterior MR surface coil. As expected, the active attention conditions activated components of the well-described "attention network," as compared with the neutral baseline. Also as expected, when comparing left minus right attention, or vice versa, contralateral occipital visual cortex was activated. The critical new finding was that the impact of high- minus low-intensity parietal TMS upon these visual regions depended on the currently attended side. High- minus low-intensity parietal TMS increased the difference between contralateral versus ipsilateral attention in right extrastriate visual cortex. A related albeit less pronounced pattern was found for left extrastriate visual cortex. Our results confirm that right human parietal cortex can exert attention-dependent influences on occipital visual cortex and provide a proof of concept for the use of concurrent TMS-fMRI in studying how remote influences can vary in a purely top-down manner with attentional demands.

Abstract

Combining transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with concurrent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows study of how local brain stimulation may causally affect activity in remote brain regions. Here, we applied bursts of high- or low-intensity TMS over right posterior parietal cortex, during a task requiring sustained covert visuospatial attention to either the left or right hemifield, or in a neutral control condition, while recording blood oxygenation-level-dependent signal with a posterior MR surface coil. As expected, the active attention conditions activated components of the well-described "attention network," as compared with the neutral baseline. Also as expected, when comparing left minus right attention, or vice versa, contralateral occipital visual cortex was activated. The critical new finding was that the impact of high- minus low-intensity parietal TMS upon these visual regions depended on the currently attended side. High- minus low-intensity parietal TMS increased the difference between contralateral versus ipsilateral attention in right extrastriate visual cortex. A related albeit less pronounced pattern was found for left extrastriate visual cortex. Our results confirm that right human parietal cortex can exert attention-dependent influences on occipital visual cortex and provide a proof of concept for the use of concurrent TMS-fMRI in studying how remote influences can vary in a purely top-down manner with attentional demands.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
08 University Research Priority Programs > Foundations of Human Social Behavior: Altruism and Egoism
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:21 Jan 2011 14:08
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 04:38
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1047-3211
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhq015
PubMed ID:20176690

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