Exploring the correlation between beta oscillations and MEPs during movement preparation

Summer 2017

Claudia Tischler : Cognitive Science

Donor: Pergo Fund
Mentor: Richard Ivry

Motor preparation can be probed using both electroencephalography (EEG) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a noninvasive brain stimulation technique which evokes a response called the motor-evoked potential (MEP) from the targeted muscle. However, recording MEPs is problematic—the MEP is highly variable from trial to trial, and the sources of fluctuations in MEP amplitude are debated. Some of this variability, as well as the temporal dynamics of the MEP, may be explained by neural oscillations, endogenous fluctuations in brain activity. During the preparatory period, both the MEP amplitude and beta power decrease on average, but it is unknown if the two are correlated trial-by-trial. By simultaneously recording MEPs and from EEG using a combined TMS-EEG method, my SURF project will test the hypothesis that MEP amplitude beta frequency band activity will have different patterns of correlation in early vs. late periods of motor preparation.

I would like to thank the Pergo Foundation for their support of my summer project. By conducting independent research, I hope to prepare myself to write a senior thesis and to continue doing research relevant to medicine after graduating.