Mapping of the human visual cortex using image-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation

Institute of Bioengineering, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Miguel Hernández, San Juan 03550, Spain.
Brain Research Protocols (Impact Factor: 1.82). 11/2002; 10(2):115-24. DOI: 10.1016/S1385-299X(02)00189-7
Source: PubMed


We describe a protocol using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to systematically map the visual sensations induced by focal and non-invasive stimulation of the human occipital cortex. TMS is applied with a figure of eight coil to 28 positions arranged in a 2x2-cm grid over the occipital area. A digitizing tablet connected to a PC computer running customized software, and audio and video recording are used for detailed and accurate data collection and analysis of evoked phosphenes. A frameless image-guided neuronavigational device is used to describe the position of the actual sites of the stimulation coils relative to the cortical surface. Our results show that TMS is able to elicit phosphenes in almost all sighted subjects and in a proportion of blind subjects. Evoked phosphenes are topographically organized. Despite minor inter-individual variations, the mapping results are reproducible and show good congruence among different subjects. This procedure has potential to improve our understanding of physiologic organization and plastic changes in the human visual system and to establish the degree of remaining functional visual cortex in blind subjects. Such a non-invasive method is critical for selection of suitable subjects for a cortical visual prosthesis.