The main purpose of this study was to investigate the sensory cortical activation of the anterior neck region and the relationship between the neck and face representation areas. Functional MRI by blood oxygenation level dependent measurements was performed while tactile stimulation was applied to the face or neck area. Nonpainful tactile stimuli were manually delivered by an experimenter at a frequency of ~1 Hz. Block (epoch) design was adopted with a block duration of 30 s and a whole run duration of 6 min. For each location, two runs were performed. After the image data were preprocessed, both parameteric and nonparametric methods were performed to test the group results. The results showed that (1) unilateral face or neck stimulation could elicit bilateral cortical activation, (2) mainly the face representation and face-hand junction areas, but not the conventional neck representation area, were activated by face or neck stimulation, and (3) the activation areas were larger when right face or neck was stimulated. In conclusion, the sensory cortical representation area of the anterior neck region was mainly at the junction of hand and face representation area and the activated area was larger when the right face or neck was stimulated. Hum Brain Mapp, 2010.
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