Journal of Neurophysiology vol:110 issue:5 pages:1062-9
A disruptive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) approach was used to determine whether the increased frontal activation and reduced hemispheric laterality brain activation patterns observed in older adults during motor tasks play a functional role. Young and older adults abducted their left index finger as soon as possible after a visual imperative signal presented 500 ms after a warning signal. TMS was applied to the dorsal premotor (PMd) or primary motor (M1) cortex in the left or right hemisphere at seven times during response preparation and execution. Both groups exhibited faster reaction times in their left hand after stimulation of the left PMd (i.e., ipsilateral to the responding hand) relative to trials with no TMS, indicating a functional role of the left PMd in the regulation of impulse control. This result also suggests that the function of the left PMd appears to be unaffected by the healthy aging process. Right M1 TMS resulted in a response time delay in both groups. Only for older adults did left M1 stimulation delay responses, suggesting the involvement of ipsilateral motor pathways in the preparation of motor actions in older adults.