Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Laboratory
Funding from the BBSRC supports a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation laboratory, a facility for the fMRI-guided neuro-stimulation of the human brain. This allows the combination of neuroimaging (fMRI), neurostimulation (TMS) and psychophysical methodologies in the examination of human brain function.
We now have the ability to use functional and structural MRI data to accurately guide the delivery of TMS to specifically identified regions of the human brain. Using standard activation paradigms we can identify regions of the brain that are activated by moving stimuli. In addition, we can also use retinotopic mapping procedures to map boundaries of visual areas that are found in the brain. The combination of fMRI data with high resolution structural scans has enabled us to confidently localise and identify, in individual brains, different cortical areas (e.g. V5/MT, V3A and V3B) that have been implicated in the cortical processing of moving visual stimuli. This is important because of the high degree of inter-subject variability in the position of these different areas (image A and B). Based upon these data we can then position the TMS coil at precise regions of the scalp using a frameless stereotactic co-registration system3. This enables us to accurately target the delivery of TMS to specific visual areas, such as V5/MT+ for example, whilst observers perform behavioural tasks designed to investigate different aspects of motion perception (image C).