Reliability of Active Robotic Neuro-Navigated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Motor Maps

SOURCE: Experimental Brain Research. 241(2):355-364, 2023 Feb.

AUTHORS: Kahl CK; Giuffre A; Wrightson JG; Zewdie E; Condliffe EG; MacMaster FP; Kirton A

ABSTRACT: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) motor mapping is a safe, non-invasive method used to study corticomotor organization and intervention-induced plasticity. Reliability of resting maps is well established, but understudied for active maps and unestablished for active maps obtained using robotic TMS techniques. The objective of this study was to determine the reliability of robotic neuro-navigated TMS motor map measures during active muscle contraction. We hypothesized that map area and volume would show excellent short- and medium-term reliability. Twenty healthy adults were tested on 3 days. Active maps of the first dorsal interosseous muscle were created using a 12 ? 12 grid (7 mm spacing). Short- (24 h) and medium-term (3-5 weeks) relative (intra-class correlation coefficient) and absolute (minimal detectable change (MDC); standard error of measure) reliabilities were evaluated for map area, volume, center of gravity (CoG), and hotspot magnitude (peak-to-peak MEP amplitude at the hotspot), along with active motor threshold (AMT) and maximum voluntary contraction (MVC). This study found that AMT and MVC had good-to-excellent short- and medium-term reliability. Map CoG (x and y) were the most reliable map measures across sessions with excellent short- and medium-term reliability (p < 0.001). Map area, hotspot magnitude, and map volume followed with better reliability medium-term than short-term, with a change of 28%, 62%, and 78% needed to detect a true medium-term change, respectively. Therefore, robot-guided neuro-navigated TMS active mapping is relatively reliable but varies across measures. This, and MDC, should be considered in interventional study designs.