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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 5846096, 14 pages
Review Article

Stimulating the Healthy Brain to Investigate Neural Correlates of Motor Preparation: A Systematic Review

1Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration, Québec, QC, Canada
2Department of Rehabilitation, Laval University, Québec, QC, Canada

Correspondence should be addressed to Catherine Mercier

Received 29 July 2017; Revised 8 November 2017; Accepted 22 November 2017; Published 4 February 2018

Academic Editor: Michele Fornaro

Copyright © 2018 Cécilia Neige et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Noninvasive brain stimulation techniques can be used to selectively increase or decrease the excitability of a cortical region, providing a unique opportunity to assess the causal contribution of that region to the process being assessed. The objective of this paper is to systematically examine studies investigating changes in reaction time induced by noninvasive brain stimulation in healthy participants during movement preparation. Methods. A systematic review of the literature was performed in the PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Web of science databases. A combination of keywords related to motor preparation, associated behavioral outcomes, and noninvasive brain stimulation methods was used. Results. Twenty-seven studies were included, and systematic data extraction and quality assessment were performed. Reaction time results were transformed in standardised mean difference and graphically pooled in forest plots depending on the targeted cortical area and the type of stimulation. Conclusions. Despite methodological heterogeneity among studies, results support a functional implication of five cortical regions (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, posterior parietal cortex, supplementary motor area, dorsal premotor cortex, and primary motor cortex), integrated into a frontoparietal network, in various components of motor preparation ranging from attentional to motor aspects.