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Age-related differences in corticospinal excitability during a Go/NoGo task

Authors

  • Hakuei Fujiyama,

    1. Human Motor Control Laboratory, School of Psychology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
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  • Christophe Tandonnet,

    1. Human Motor Control Laboratory, School of Psychology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
    2. Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive, Aix-Marseille Université & CNRS, Marseille, France
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  • Jeffery J. Summers

    1. Human Motor Control Laboratory, School of Psychology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
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  • This research was supported under Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects funding scheme (project number DP0770568).

Address correspondence to: Hakuei Fujiyama, School of Psychology, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 30, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia. E-mail: Hakuei.Fujiyama@utas.edu.au

Abstract

Age-related slowing of reaction times (RTs) is well documented but whether the phenomenon reflects deficits in movement preparation and/or response generation processes is unclear. To gain further insight into this issue, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to investigate motor cortex (M1) excitability and short-interval intracortical inhibitory (SICI) processes during a Go/NoGo RT task in younger and older adults. Single- and paired-pulse TMS was delivered over the left M1 during preparation and response generation periods in a right-hand muscle. Younger adults had shorter RTs and a larger increase in corticospinal excitability at response generation period than older adults. SICI modulation for both groups showed a large reduction in inhibition immediately prior to EMG onset. These findings indicate age-related differences in corticospinal excitability during the response generation stage of sensorimotor information processing.

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