Motor cortical oscillations are abnormally suppressed during repetitive movement in patients with Parkinson's disease

Elizabeth L. Stegemöller, David P. Allen, Tanya Simuni, Colum D. MacKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: Impaired repetitive movement in persons with Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with reduced amplitude, paradoxical hastening and hesitations or arrest at higher movement rates. This study examined the effects of movement rate and medication on movement-related cortical oscillations in persons with PD. Methods: Nine participants with PD were studied off and on medication and compared to nine control participants. Participants performed index finger movements cued by tones from 1 to 3 Hz. Movement-related oscillations were derived from electroencephalographic recordings over the region of the contralateral sensorimotor cortex (S1/M1) during rest, listening, or synchronized movement. Results: At rest, spectral power recorded over the region of the contralateral S1/M1 was increased in the alpha band and decreased in the beta band in participants with PD relative to controls. During movement, the level of alpha and beta band power relative to baseline was significantly reduced in the PD group, off and on medication, compared to controls. Reduced movement amplitude and hastening at movement rates near 2 Hz was associated with abnormally suppressed and persistent desynchronization of oscillations in alpha and beta bands. Conclusion: Motor cortical oscillations in the alpha and beta bands are abnormally suppressed in PD, particularly during higher rate movements. Significance: These findings contribute to the understanding of mechanisms underlying impaired repetitive movement in PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-674
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Christopher Robinson and Di Zhang for their assistance with construction of the finger movement device, Dr. Lance Myers for the development of signal processing software, and Dr. Mack Shelley for statistical advice. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant number RO1 NS054199-01A1 .


  • Alpha band
  • Beta band
  • Desynchronization
  • Hastening
  • Hypokinesia

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