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INTRODUCTION: Bursts of beta frequency band activity in the basal ganglia of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) are associated with impaired motor performance. Here we test in human adults if small variations in the timing of movement relative to beta bursts have a critical effect on movement velocity and if the cumulative effects of multiple beta bursts, both locally and across networks, matter. METHODS: We recorded local field potentials from the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in 15 PD patients of both genders OFF-medication, during temporary lead externalization after deep brain stimulation surgery. Beta bursts were defined as periods exceeding the 75th percentile amplitude threshold. Subjects performed a visual cued joystick reaching task, with the visual cue being triggered in real time with different temporal relationships to bursts of STN beta activity. RESULTS: The velocity of actions made in response to cues prospectively triggered by STN beta bursts was slower than when responses were not time-locked to recent beta bursts. Importantly, slow movements were those that followed multiple bursts close to each other within a trial. In contrast, small differences in the delay between the last burst and movement onset had no significant impact on velocity. Moreover, when the overlap of bursts between the two STN was high, slowing was more pronounced. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the cumulative, but recent, history of beta bursting, both locally and across basal ganglia networks, may impact on motor performance.Significance Statement: Bursts of beta frequency band activity in the basal ganglia are associated with slowing of voluntary movement in patients with Parkinson's disease. We show that slow movements are those that follow multiple bursts close to each other and bursts that are coupled across regions. These results suggest that the cumulative, but recent, history of beta bursting, both locally and across basal ganglia networks, impacts on motor performance in this condition. The manipulation of burst dynamics may be a means of selectively improving motor impairment.

Original publication

DOI

10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1975-19.2019

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Neurosci

Publication Date

09/01/2020