TitleSensorimotor cortex functional connectivity during foot motor execution and imagery: a study on healthy individuals using eConnectome
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsAthanasiou, Alkinoos, Kalogianni Konstantina, and Bamidis Panagiotis
Conference Name8th IBRO World Congress of Neuroscience
Conference LocationFlorence, Italy

Introduction: Motor imagery describes the concept of imagining and rehearsing a motor task as opposed to the actual practice, called motor execution. It has been proved that the sensorimotor cortex produces similar activation patterns in electroencephalographic (EEG) signals, both in motor imagery and execution. In order to fully comprehend brain functionality, static neuroelectric instances of brain activity are not enough. Functional connectivity aims at studying the interactions between differently organized cortical regions and the networks that are formed through brain activation. Methodology: In our experiment 7 healthy subjects performed a foot motor execution (FME) and a foot motor imagery (FMI) task and EEG signals were recorded over the sensorimotor cortex with 17 channels. For the analysis, we used the novel eConnectome toolbox for Matlab, defining regions of interest (ROI) on the cortical surface model and computing the Adaptive Directed Transfer Function (ADTF). Connectivity patterns during FME and FMI were visualized and compared both at the cortical surface and the EEG sensor level. Results: Similar connectivity patterns were identified for each subject during actual and imaginary movement, as well as across subjects, but flow currents seem to be less organized in motor imagery. An important regulative role of the supplementary motor areas (SMAs) and a high output information exchange between the two SMAs can be found in both occasions. Discussion: Functional connectivity networks are of a highly dynamic nature, progressing and changing during the course of a motor task. Both similar and unique connectivity patterns can be identified during motor execution and motor imagery. Studying functional connectivity during motor imagery tasks is expected to provide researchers with useful information on how the brain functions in individuals with motor disabilities.