Whole-head analysis of cortical spatial organization from unilateral stimulation of median nerve in both hands: No complete hemisphere homology

Peter J. Theuvenet, Bob W. van Dijk, M.J. Peters, Jan M. van Ree, Fernando L. Lopes da Silva, Andrew C.N. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


We examined the contralateral hemispheric cortical activity in MEG (151 ch) after unilateral median nerve stimulation of the right and left hand in twenty healthy right-handed subjects. The goal was to establish parameters to describe cortical activity of the hemispheric responses and to study the potential ability to assess differences in volunteers and patients. We focused on the within-subject similarity and differences between evoked fields in both hands. Cortical activity was characterized by the overlay display of waveforms (CWP), number of peak stages, loci of focal maxima and minima in each stage, 3D topographic maps and exemplified equivalent current dipole characteristics. The paired-wise test was used to analyze the hemispheric differences. The waveform morphology was unique across the subjects, similar CWPs were noted in both hemispheres of the individual. The contralateral hemispheric responses showed a well defined temporal–spatial activation of six to seven stages in the 500 ms window. Consistently (in over 80% of subjects), the six stages across the subjects were 20M, 30M, 50M, 70M, 90M, and 150M. A 240M was present in the left hemisphere (LH) in 15/20 subjects and in the right hemisphere (RH) in 10/20. Statistics of the latencies and amplitudes of these seven stages were calculated. Our results indicated that the latency was highly consistent and exhibited no statistical mean difference for all stages. Furthermore, no mean amplitude differences between both hemispheres at each stage were found. The patterns of magnetic fields in both hemispheres were consistent in 70% of the subjects. A laterality index (L.I.) was used for defining the magnetic field amplitude differences between two hemispheres for each individual. Overall, the absolute amplitude of the brain responses was larger in the left than in the right hemisphere in the majority of subjects (16/20), yet a significant portion (4/20) exhibited right dominance of the N20m activity. Each individual exhibited a unique CWP, there was reliable consistency of peak latencies and mean amplitudes in median nerve MEG. Nevertheless, this study indicates the limitations of using the intact hemisphere responses to compare with those from the affected (brain) side and suggests caution in assuming full homology in the cortical organization of both hemispheres. This study provides some results to address clinical issues like which parameter describes individual differences best. Whether a genuine difference is found or whether any difference may simply represent the variability encountered in a normal population.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)314-325
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Interhemispheric comparison
  • METIS-225211
  • Median nerve stimulation
  • Functional mapping
  • Magnetic flux
  • IR-77403
  • Evoked fields

Cite this