In previous studies of young subjects performing a reaction-time reaching task, we found that faster reaction times are associated with increased suppression of beta power over primary sensorimotor areas just before target presentation. Here we ascertain whether such beta decrease similarly occurs in normally aging subjects and also in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), where deficits in movement execution and abnormalities of beta power are usually present. We found that in both groups, beta power decreased during the motor task in the electrodes over the two primary sensorimotor areas. However, before target presentation, beta decreases in PD were significantly smaller over the right than over the left areas, while they were symmetrical in controls. In both groups, functional connectivity between the two regions, measured with imaginary coherence, increased before the target appearance; however, in PD, it decreased immediately after, while in controls, it remained elevated throughout motor planning. As in previous studies with young subjects, the degree of beta power before target appearance correlated with reaction time. The values of coherence during motor planning, instead, correlated with movement time, peak velocity and acceleration. We conclude that planning of prompt and fast movements partially depends on coordinated beta activity of both sensorimotor areas, already at the time of target presentation. The delayed onset of beta decreases over the right region observed in PD is possibly related to a decreased functional connectivity between the two areas, and this might account for deficits in force programming, movement duration and velocity modulation.
Meziane, H. B., Moisello, C., Perfetti, B., Kvint, S., Isaias, I. U., Quartarone, A. . . . Ghilardi, M. F. (2015). Movement Preparation and Bilateral Modulation of Beta Activity in Aging and Parkinson’s Disease. PLoS ONE, 10(1), e0114817. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114817.