Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

September 2015


Abstract Background PD (Parkinson's disease) is characterized by impairments in cortical plasticity, in beta frequency at rest and in beta power modulation during movement (i.e., event‐related ERS [synchronization] and ERD [desynchronization]). Recent results with experimental protocols inducing long‐term potentiation in healthy subjects suggest that cortical plasticity phenomena might be reflected by changes of beta power recorded with EEG during rest. Here, we determined whether motor practice produces changes in beta power at rest and during movements in both healthy subjects and patients with PD. We hypothesized that such changes would be reduced in PD. Methods We thus recorded EEG in patients with PD and age‐matched controls before, during and after a 40‐minute reaching task. We determined posttask changes of beta power at rest and assessed the progressive changes of beta ERD and ERS during the task over frontal and sensorimotor regions. Results We found that beta ERS and ERD changed significantly with practice in controls but not in PD. In PD compared to controls, beta power at rest was greater over frontal sensors but posttask changes, like those during movements, were far less evident. In both groups, kinematic characteristics improved with practice; however, there was no correlation between such improvements and the changes in beta power. Conclusions We conclude that prolonged practice in a motor task produces use‐dependent modifications that are reflected in changes of beta power at rest and during movement. In PD, such changes are significantly reduced; such a reduction might represent, at least partially, impairment of cortical plasticity.


This work was originally published in Brain and Behavior, available at doi:10.1002/brb3.374.



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