Interhemispheric transfer of phosphenes generated by occipital versus parietal transcranial magnetic stimulation

Experimental Brain Research
Carlo A MarziSilvia Savazzi

Abstract

Phosphenes represent a perceptual effect of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or electric stimulation of visual cortical areas. One likely neural basis for the generation of static phosphenes is the primary visual cortex (V1) although evidence is controversial. A peculiar feature of V1 is that it has sparse callosal connections with the exception of a central portion of visual field representation. In contrast, visually responsive cortical areas in the parietal lobe have widespread callosal connections. Thus, interhemispheric transfer (IT) time of off-centre phosphenes should be slower when generated by V1 than by visual parietal areas. To verify this possibility, in Exp. 1 we measured IT of phosphenes generated by TMS applied to V1 and in Exp. 2 we measured IT of phosphenes obtained by TMS applied to posterior parietal cortex. In both experiments, we obtained static bright circular phosphenes appearing in the contralateral hemifield. We measured IT time behaviorally by comparing unimanual simple reaction time to the onset of a phosphene under crossed or uncrossed hemifield-hand condition (Poffenberger paradigm). In keeping with our prediction, we found a substantially longer IT time for V1 than for parietal phosphenes. A...Continue Reading

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