Motor representation of the hand in the human cortex: An f-MRI study with a conventional 1.5 T clinical unit

A. Beltramello, R. Cerini, G. Puppini, G. El-Dalati, S. Viola, E. Martone, D. Cordopatri, M. Manfredi, S. Aglioti, G. Tassinari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to show a gradient of possible bilateral activation for movements of the non-dominant vs. dominant hand, as well as for areas involved in complex vs. simple hand movements. A standard 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system has been utilized to localize the cortical motor hand areas, using the blood oxygen level dependent contrast (BOLDc) technique and single-section fast low-angle shot (FLASH) imaging. Ten normal right-handed subjects volunteered for the study. The motor tasks consisted of simple (flexion-extension) finger movements of either hand, and complex movements (finger-to-thumb opposition in a repeating, pre-planned sequence) of the non-dominant hand. Simple movements caused contralateral activation of the primary motor area (MA); ipsilatera! activation was observed for the non-dominant hand only. Supplementary motor area (SMA) was also activated, with a clear contralateral prevalence. The ratio of bilateral activation of MA did not change with complex movements of the non-dominant hand, while SMA as well as lateral premotor area were largely bilaterally activated in this task. In conclusion, the ipsilateral MA is activated for movements - even simple - performed with the non-dominant hand. There is widespread functional activity, involving both contralateral and ipsilateral SMA, for complex movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-284
Number of pages8
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Functional MR
  • Motor-prernotor cortex
  • Simple-complex movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Dermatology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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