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J Neurophysiol. 2005 Feb;93(2):801-12. Epub 2004 Sep 8.

Cerebellar involvement in anticipating the consequences of self-produced actions during bimanual movements.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 720 Rutland Ave., 416 Traylor Bldg., Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Anticipatory postural adjustments (APA) during bimanual actions can be observed when participants hold an object in one hand and then lift it with the other hand. The postural force used to hold the object is reduced in anticipation of unloading, indicating an accurate prediction of the change in load. We examined patients with unilateral or bilateral cerebellar damage as well as two individuals lacking the corpus callosum on the bimanual unloading task. The acallosal patients showed an intact APA, suggesting subcortical integration of motor signals for anticipatory adjustments during bimanual actions. Contrary to the hypothesis that the cerebellum is critical for predicting and compensating for the consequences of our actions, we found that the well-learned APA in this task was largely intact in cerebellar patients. However, cerebellar damage abolished short-term adaptation of the APA, and the patients were unable to acquire an APA in a similar but previously untrained situation. These results indicate that while over-learned anticipatory adjustments are preserved after cerebellar lesions, adaptation of this response and the acquisition of a novel coordination requires the cerebellum ipsilateral to the postural hand. Furthermore, this structure appears to be essential for the accurate timing of previously learned behaviors. The patients with cerebellar damage showed poorly timed adjustments with the APA beginning earlier than in healthy participants.

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