Altered neural oscillations during complex sequential movements in patients with Parkinson's disease

Marie C. McCusker, Alex I. Wiesman, Rachel K. Spooner, Pamela M. Santamaria, Jennifer McKune, Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Tony W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The sequelae of Parkinson's disease (PD) includes both motor- and cognitive-related symptoms. Although traditionally considered a subcortical disease, there is increasing evidence that PD has a major impact on cortical function as well. Prior studies have reported alterations in cortical neural function in patients with PD during movement, but to date such studies have not examined whether the complexity of multicomponent movements modulate these alterations. In this study, 23 patients with PD (medication “off” state) and 27 matched healthy controls performed simple and complex finger tapping sequences during magnetoencephalography (MEG), and the resulting MEG data were imaged to identify the cortical oscillatory dynamics serving motor performance. The patients with PD were significantly slower than controls at executing the sequences overall, and both groups took longer to complete the complex sequences than the simple. In terms of neural differences, patients also exhibited weaker beta complexity-related effects in the right medial frontal gyrus and weaker complexity-related alpha activity in the right posterior and inferior parietal lobules, suggesting impaired motor sequence execution. Characterizing the cortical pathophysiology of PD could inform current and future therapeutic interventions that address both motor and cognitive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102892
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Alpha oscillations
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Motor complexity
  • Parietal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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