Circadian modulation of motor-related beta oscillatory responses

Tony W. Wilson, Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Katherine M. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Previous electrophysiological investigations have evaluated movement-related beta (14-28. Hz) oscillatory activity in healthy participants. These studies have described an abrupt decrease in beta activity that starts before movement onset, and a sharp increase in beta power that peaks after movement termination. These neural responses have been respectively termed the event-related beta desynchronization or pre-movement beta ERD, and the post-movement beta rebound (PMBR). Previous studies have shown that a variety of movement parameters and demographic factors (e.g., age) modulate the amplitude of these oscillatory responses, and in the current study we evaluated whether the amplitudes follow a biological temporal rhythm (e.g., circadian), as it is known that spontaneous beta levels increase from morning to afternoon in some brain areas. To this end, we used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to evaluate oscillatory activity during a right hand finger-tapping task in four participants who were recorded at three different times (09:00, 12:00, 16:00) on three consecutive days (i.e., 36 total MEG sessions). All MEG data were corrected for head motion and examined in the time-frequency domain using beamforming methods. We found a significant linear increase in beta ERD amplitude from 09:00 to 16:00. h in the left precentral gyrus, left premotor cortices, left supplementary motor area (SMA), and right precentral and postcentral gyri. In contrast, the amplitude of the PMBR was very steady across the day in all brain regions except the left SMA, which exhibited a linear increase from morning to afternoon. Finally, beta levels during the baseline period also increased from 09:00 to 16:00 in most regions of the cortical sensorimotor network. These data show that both the pre-movement beta ERD and spontaneous beta levels strongly increase from morning to afternoon in the motor cortices, which may indicate that the amplitude of the beta ERD response is determined by the spontaneous beta level during the motor planning period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-539
Number of pages9
Issue numberP2
StatePublished - Nov 15 2014


  • Circadian
  • Desynchronization
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Motor planning
  • Movement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Circadian modulation of motor-related beta oscillatory responses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this