Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Neurophysiol. 2013 May;124(5):991-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2012.10.021. Epub 2012 Nov 22.

Effects of olivo-ponto-cerebellar atrophy (OPCA) on finger interaction and coordination.

Author information

Department of Kinesiology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.



We investigated changes in finger interaction and coordination in patients with olivo-ponto-cerebellar atrophy (OPCA) using the recently developed approach to motor synergies based on the principle of motor abundance.


OPCA patients and control subjects performed sets of maximal and submaximal force production tasks by the fingers of each of the hands. Indices of multi-finger synergies were quantified within the framework of the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis.


The patients showed lower maximal forces, higher indices of finger interdependence (enslaving), and lower indices of multi-finger synergies stabilizing total force in four-finger tasks. In addition, the patients showed an impaired ability to adjust synergies in preparation to a quick action (small and delayed anticipatory synergy adjustments). The synergy indices showed significant correlations with the clinical scores (both UPDRS total motor scores and ataxia related sub-scores). The observed changes in the indices of finger interaction and coordination were qualitatively similar to those reported earlier for patients with Parkinson's disease; however, the magnitude of the changes was much higher in the OPCA group.


These findings fit the hypotheses on the role of the cerebellum in assembling motor synergies and in the feed-forward control of action. They suggest that the synergy index measured in artificial, constrained laboratory tasks may be predictive of more general changes in motor behavior.


The results suggest that studies of multi-digit synergies may be particularly sensitive to subcortical disorders and may provide a much-needed tool for quantitative assessment of impaired coordination in such patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center