OBJECTIVE: Among other neuroimaging techniques, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be useful for studying the development of motor fatigue. The aim of this study was to identify differences in cortical neuronal activation in nine subjects on three motor tasks: right-hand movement with minimum, maximum, and post-fatigue maximum finger flexion.MATERIALS AND METHODS: fMRI activation maps for each subject and during each condition were obtained by estimating the optimal model of the hemodynamic response function (HRF) out of four standard HRF models and an individual-based HRF model (ibHRF).RESULTS: ibHRF was selected as the optimal model in six out of nine subjects for minimum movement, in five out of nine for maximum movement, and in eight out of nine for post-fatigue maximum movement. As compared to maximum movement, a large reduction in the total number of active voxels (primary sensorimotor area, supplementary motor area and cerebellum) was observed in post-fatigue maximum movement.CONCLUSION: This is the first approach to the evaluation of long-lasting contraction effort in healthy subjects by means of the fMRI paradigm with the use of an individual-based hemodynamic response. The results may be relevant for defining a baseline in future studies on central fatigue in patients with neuropathological disorders.
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