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Neuroimage Clin. 2015 Sep 2;9:300-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2015.08.018. eCollection 2015.

Effects of rhythmic stimulus presentation on oscillatory brain activity: the physiology of cueing in Parkinson's disease.

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Dept. of Neurology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands ; Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The basal ganglia play an important role in beat perception and patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) are impaired in perception of beat-based rhythms. Rhythmic cues are nonetheless beneficial in gait rehabilitation, raising the question how rhythm improves movement in PD. We addressed this question with magnetoencephalography recordings during a choice response task with rhythmic and non-rhythmic modes of stimulus presentation. Analyses focused on (i) entrainment of slow oscillations, (ii) the depth of beta power modulation, and (iii) whether a gain in modulation depth of beta power, due to rhythmicity, is of predictive or reactive nature. The results show weaker phase synchronisation of slow oscillations and a relative shift from predictive to reactive movement-related beta suppression in PD. Nonetheless, rhythmic stimulus presentation increased beta modulation depth to the same extent in patients and controls. Critically, this gain selectively increased the predictive and not reactive movement-related beta power suppression. Operation of a predictive mechanism, induced by rhythmic stimulation, was corroborated by a sensory gating effect in the sensorimotor cortex. The predictive mode of cue utilisation points to facilitation of basal ganglia-premotor interactions, contrasting with the popular view that rhythmic stimulation confers a special advantage in PD, based on recruitment of alternative pathways.


Basal ganglia; Beta oscillations; Magnetoencephalography; Parkinson’s disease; Rhythmic cueing

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