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Brain. 1998 Apr;121 ( Pt 4):743-53.

Bimanual co-ordination in Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Psychology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.


The basal ganglia may be involved in bimanual co-ordination. Parkinson's disease (which impairs basal ganglia output) is clinically reported to cause difficulties in the performance of co-ordinated bimanual movements. Nevertheless, any bimanual co-ordination difficulties may be task specific, as experimental observations are equivocal. To infer the role of the basal ganglia in co-ordinating the two arms, this study investigated the bimanual co-ordination of patients with Parkinson's disease. Sixteen Parkinson's disease patients and matched control subjects performed a bimanual cranking task, at different speeds (1 and 2 Hz) and phase relationships. All subjects performed the required bimanual in-phase movement on a pair of cranks, at fast (2 Hz) and slow (1 Hz) speeds. However, the Parkinson's disease patients were unable to perform the asymmetrical anti-phase movement, in which rotation of the cranks differed by 180 degrees, at either speed; but instead reverted to the in-phase symmetrical movement. For Parkinson's disease patients, performance of the in-phase movement was more accurate and stable when an external timing cue was used; however, for anti-phase movement, the external cue accentuated the tendency for patients to revert to more symmetrical, in-phase movements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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