Lateralization of cervical spinal cord activity during an isometric upper extremity motor task with functional magnetic resonance imaging

Kenneth A. Weber*, Yu Fen Chen, Xue Wang, Thorsten Kahnt, Todd B Parrish

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to use an isometric upper extremity motor task to detect activity induced blood oxygen level dependent signal changes in the cervical spinal cord with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Eleven healthy volunteers performed six 5 minute runs of an alternating left- and right-sided isometric wrist flexion task, during which images of the cervical spinal cord were acquired with a reduced field-of-view T2*-weighted gradient-echo echo-planar-imaging sequence. Spatial normalization to a standard spinal cord template was performed, and group average activation maps were generated in a mixed-effects analysis. The task activity significantly exceeded that of the control analyses. The activity was lateralized to the hemicord ipsilateral to the task and reliable across the runs at the group and subject level. Finally, a multi-voxel pattern analysis was able to successfully decode the left and right tasks at the C6 and C7 vertebral levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2016



  • Functional MRI
  • Functional laterality
  • Humans
  • Motor activity
  • Spinal cord
  • Upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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