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OBJECTIVE: It has been suggested that the basal ganglia act to release cortical elements from idling (alpha) rhythms so that they may become coherent in the gamma range, thereby binding together those distributed activities necessary for the effective selection and execution of a motor act. This hypothesis was tested in 10 patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease. METHODS: Surface EEG was recorded during self paced squeezing of the hand and elbow flexion performed separately, simultaneously, or sequentially. Recordings were made after overnight withdrawal of medication and, again, 1 hour after levodopa. The medication related improvement in EEG desynchronisation (in the 7.5-12.5 Hz band) over the 1 second before movement and during movement were separately correlated with the improvement in movement time for each electrode site. Correlation coefficients (r) > 0.632 were considered significant (p<0.05). RESULTS: Improvement in premovement desynchronisation correlated with reduction in bradykinesia over the contralateral sensorimotor cortex and supplementary motor area in flexion and squeeze, respectively. However, when both movements were combined either simultaneously or sequentially, this correlation shifted anteriorly, to areas overlying prefrontal cortex. Improvement in EEG desynchronisation during movement only correlated with reduction in bradykinesia in two tasks. Correlation was seen over the supplementary motor area during flexion, and central prefrontal and ipsilateral premotor areas during simultaneous flex and squeeze. CONCLUSIONS: The results are consistent with the idea that the basal ganglia liberate frontal cortex from idling rhythms, and that this effect is focused and specific in so far as it changes with the demands of the task. In particular, the effective selection and execution of more complex tasks is associated with changes over the prefrontal cortex.

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry

Publication Date

04/1999

Volume

66

Pages

442 - 446

Keywords

Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Antiparkinson Agents, Basal Ganglia, Electroencephalography, Female, Humans, Levodopa, Male, Middle Aged, Movement, Movement Disorders, Parkinson Disease, Prefrontal Cortex