Delineation of somatosensory finger areas using vibrotactile stimulation, an ECoG study

Rémy Wahnoun, Michelle Benson, Stephen Helms Tillery, P. David Adelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: In surgical planning for epileptic focus resection, functional mapping of eloquent cortex is attained through direct electrical stimulation of the brain. This procedure is uncomfortable, can trigger seizures or nausea, and relies on subjective evaluation. We hypothesize that a method combining vibrotactile stimulation and statistical clustering may provide improved somatosensory mapping. Methods: Seven pediatric candidates for surgical resection underwent a task in which their fingers were independently stimulated using a custom designed finger pad, during electrocorticographic monitoring. A cluster-based statistical analysis was then performed to localize the elicited activity on the recording grids. Results: Mid-Gamma clusters (65-115 Hz) arose in areas consistent with anatomical predictions as well as clinical findings, with five subjects presenting a somatotopic organization of the fingers. This process allowed us to delineate finger representation even in patients who were sleeping, with strong interictal activity, or when electrical stimulation did not successfully locate eloquent areas. Conclusions: We suggest that this scheme, relying on the endogenous neural response rather than exogenous electrical activation, could eventually be extended to map other sensory areas and provide a faster and more objective map to better anticipate outcomes of surgical resection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2015


  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy
  • Event-related potentials
  • Evoked potentials
  • Fingers
  • Somatosensory cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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