Positron emission tomographic measurements were used to study the distribution of focal changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) induced by vibrotactile stimulation of the hands and feet in 22 normal humans. Subjects received bolus intravenous saline injections containing ∼ 60 mCi 15O-labeled water. Active regions during stimulation were defined relative to resting, nonstimulated states. Scan data from different subjects were averaged after stereotactic standardization. The results identified previously described foci of increased CBF in postrolandic sensory cortex (primary somatosensory cortex) and supplementary motor cortex. New statistical testing procedures provided independent demonstrations of two additional increases in regional CBF, bilaterally, within the sylvian fissure. One site along the parietal operculum corresponded to previous conjectures about a second somatosensory cortical area (SII) in humans. Another site also was found on the insula. No topographic organization was found in either location. The discussion considers these responsive areas to innocuous tactile stimuli in reference to suggestions about a role for SII in the perception of pain.
- Brain imaging
- Cortical localization