Magnetoencephalography in the study of human somatosensory cortical processing

R. Hari, N. Forss

Abstract

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a totally non–invasive research method which provides information about cortical dynamics on a millisecond time–scale. Whole–scalp magnetic field patterns following stimulation of different peripheral nerves indicate activation of an extensive cortical network. At the SI cortex, the responses reflect mainly the activity of area 3b, with clearly somatotopical representations of different body parts. The SII cortex is activated bilaterally and it also receives, besides tactile input, nociceptive afference. Somatically evoked MEG signals may also be detected from the posterior parietal cortex, central mesial cortex and the frontal lobe. The serial versus parallel processing in the cortical somatosensory network is still under debate.