Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with debilitating motor, posture, and gait abnormalities. Human studies recording local field potentials within the subthalamic nucleus and scalp-based electroencephalography have shown pathological beta synchronization throughout the cortical-basal ganglia motor network in PD. Suppression of such pathological beta synchronization has been associated with improved motor function, which may explain the effectiveness of deep-brain stimulation. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate neural population-level beta responses, and other oscillatory activity, during a motor task in unmedicated patients with PD and a matched group of healthy adults. MEG is a noninvasive neurophysiological technique that permits the recording of oscillatory activity during movement planning, execution, and termination phases. Each of these phases was independently examined using beamforming to distinguish the brain areas and movement phases, where pathological oscillations exist during motor control. Patients with PD exhibited significantly diminished beta desynchronization compared with controls prior to and during movement, which paralleled reduced alpha desynchronization. This study is the first to systematically investigate neural oscillatory responses in PD during distinct stages of motor control (e.g. planning, execution, and termination) and indicates that these patients have significant difficulty suppressing cortical beta synchronization during movement planning, which may contribute to their diminished movement capacities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2669-2678
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • Cortex
  • MEG
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Motor control
  • Oscillations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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