Non-invasive mapping of face processing by navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation

Stefanie Maurer, Katrin Giglhuber, Nico Sollmann, Anna Kelm, Sebastian Ille, Theresa Hauck, Noriko Tanigawa, Florian Ringel, Tobias Boeckh-Behrens, Bernhard Meyer, Sandro M. Krieg

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12 Scopus citations


Background: Besides motor and language function, tumor resections within the frontal and parietal lobe have also been reported to cause neuropsychological impairment like prosopagnosia. Objective: Since non-navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has previously been used to map neuropsychological cortical function, this study aims to evaluate the feasibility and spatial discrimination of repetitive navigated TMS (rTMS) mapping for detection of face processing impairment in healthy volunteers. The study was also designed to establish this examination for preoperative mapping in brain tumor patients. Methods: Twenty healthy and purely right-handed volunteers (11 female, 9 male) underwent rTMS mapping for cortical face processing function using 5 Hz/10 pulses. Both hemispheres were investigated randomly with an interval of 2 weeks between mapping sessions. Fifty-two predetermined cortical spots of the whole hemispheres were mapped after baseline measurement. The task consisted of 80 portraits of popular persons, which had to be named while rTMS was applied. Results: In 80% of all subjects rTMS elicited naming errors in the right middle middle frontal gyrus (mMFG). Concerning anomia errors, the highest error rate (35%) was achieved in the bilateral triangular inferior frontal gyrus (trIFG). With regard to similarly or wrongly named persons, we observed 10% error rates mainly in the bilateral frontal lobes. Conclusion: It seems feasible to map the cortical face processing function and to generate face processing impairment via rTMS. The observed localizations are well in accordance with the contemporary literature, and the mapping did not interfere with rTMS-induced language impairment. The clinical usefulness of preoperative mapping has to be evaluated subsequently.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - 23 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain mapping
  • Face processing
  • Neuropsychology
  • Preoperative mapping
  • Repetitive navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation


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