Short-interval intracortical inhibition and manual dexterity in healthy aging
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Short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) acting on the first dorsal interosseus was measured usingpaired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (interstimulus interval = 2 ms) in samples of young andhealthy older subjects and correlated with manual dexterity measured with the Purdue Pegboard testand two isometric force-matching tasks. There was an age-related decrease in SICI and an age-relateddecline in all dexterity measures. The level of SICI was not correlated with any of the dexterity measures, but the appearance of atypical facilitation (rather than inhibition) in some subjects was associated with impaired pegboard performance but not force-matching performance. We conclude that SICI at rest is reduced with healthy aging but this loss of SICI does not directly contribute to the loss of dexterity; a shift in the balance of facilitatory and inhibitory processes in motor cortex to facilitation might interfere with sequenced hand movements.
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