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Arch Ital Biol. 2010 Sep;148(3):279-88.

Attention modulation regulates both motor and non-motor performance: a high-density EEG study in Parkinson's disease.

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  • 1Sensory Motor Integration Lab (SMILab), Dept. of Physiology and Pharmacology, CUNY Medical School, New York, NY 10031, USA.


We have previously shown that, in early stages of Parkinson's disease (PD), patients with higher reaction times are also more impaired in visual sequence learning, suggesting that movement preparation shares resources with the learning of visuospatial sequences. Here, we ascertained whether, in patients with PD, the pattern of the neural correlates of attentional processes of movement planning predict sequence learning and working memory abilities. High density Electroencephalography (EEG, 256 electrodes) was recorded in 19 patients with PD performing reaching movements in a choice reaction time paradigm. Patients were also tested with Digit Span and performed a visuomotor sequence learning task that has an important declarative learning component. We found that attenuation of alpha/beta oscillatory activity before the stimulus presentation in frontoparietal regions significantly correlated with reaction time in the choice reaction time task, similarly to what we had previously found in normal subjects. In addition, such activity significantly predicted the declarative indices of sequence learning and the scores in the Digit Span task. These findings suggest that some motor and non motor PD signs might have common neural bases, and thus, might have a similar response to the same behavioral therapy. In addition, these results might help in designing and testing the efficacy of novel rehabilitative approaches to improve specific aspects of motor performance in PD and other neurological disorders.

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