Children with cerebral palsy have altered oscillatory activity in the motor and visual cortices during a knee motor task

Max J. Kurz, Amy L. Proskovec, James E. Gehringer, Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Tony W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The neuroimaging literature on cerebral palsy (CP) has predominantly focused on identifying structural aberrations within the white matter (e.g., fiber track integrity), with very few studies examining neural activity within the key networks that serve the production of motor actions. The current investigation used high-density magnetoencephalography to begin to fill this knowledge gap by quantifying the temporal dynamics of the alpha and beta cortical oscillations in children with CP (age = 15.5 ± 3 years; GMFCS levels II–III) and typically developing (TD) children (age = 14.1 ± 3 years) during a goal-directed isometric target-matching task using the knee joint. Advanced beamforming methods were used to image the cortical oscillations during the movement planning and execution stages. Compared with the TD children, our results showed that the children with CP had stronger alpha and beta event-related desynchronization (ERD) within the primary motor cortices, premotor area, inferior parietal lobule, and inferior frontal gyrus during the motor planning stage. Differences in beta ERD amplitude extended through the motor execution stage within the supplementary motor area and premotor cortices, and a stronger alpha ERD was detected in the anterior cingulate. Interestingly, our results also indicated that alpha and beta oscillations were weaker in the children with CP within the occipital cortices and visual MT area during movement execution. These altered alpha and beta oscillations were accompanied by slower reaction times and substantial target matching errors in the children with CP. We also identified that the strength of the alpha and beta ERDs during the motor planning and execution stages were correlated with the motor performance. Lastly, our regression analyses suggested that the beta ERD within visual areas during motor execution primarily predicted the amount of motor errors. Overall, these data suggest that uncharacteristic alpha and beta oscillations within visuomotor cortical networks play a prominent role in the atypical motor actions exhibited by children with CP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-305
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2017


  • Isometric
  • Lower extremity
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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