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A Role of the Basal Ganglia in Movement: The Effect of Precues on Discrete Bi-directional Movements in Parkinson's Disease

Andrew M. Johnson, Philip A. Vernon, Quincy J. Almeida, Linda L. Grantier, and Mandar S. Jog

The effect of a precue on improving movement initiation (i.e., reaction time; RT) is well understood, whereas its influence on movement execution (i.e., movement time; MT) has rarely been examined. The current study investigated the influence of a directional precue (i.e., left vs. right) on the RT and MT of simple and discrete bi-directional movements in a large sample of Parkinson's disease patients and healthy control participants. Both patients and controls were tested twice, with testing sessions separated by 2 hours. Patients were tested first following an overnight levodopa withdrawal and again after they had taken their medication. Both patients and controls demonstrated a significant RT improvement when information was provided in advance. MT in both healthy participants and medicated patients was, however, slower with the provision of advance information, while unmedicated patients showed no significant MT effects. These results suggest that while the basal ganglia may not be involved in motor program selection, they may dynamically modulate movement execution.

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Exercise as Medicine for the Treatment of Brain Dysfunction: Evidence for Cortical Stroke, Cerebellar Ataxia, and Parkinson’s Disease

Yu-Ting Tseng, Sanaz Khosravani, Arash Mahnan, and Jürgen Konczak

This review addresses the role of exercise as an intervention for treating neurological disease. It focuses on three major neurological diseases that either present in acute or neurodegenerative forms—Parkinson’s disease, cerebellar ataxia, and cortical stroke. Each of the diseases affects primarily different brain structures, namely the basal ganglia, the cerebellum, and the cerebrum. These structures are all known to be involved in motor control, and the dysfunction of each structure leads to distinct movement deficits. The review summarizes current knowledge on how exercise can aid rehabilitation or therapeutic efforts. In addition, it addresses the role of robotic devices in enhancing available therapies by reviewing how robot-aided therapies may promote the recovery for stroke survivors. It highlights recent scientific evidence in support of exercise as a treatment for brain dysfunction, but also outlines the still open challenges for unequivocally demonstrating the benefits of exercise.

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Differential Effect of Recurrent Concussions on Symptom Clusters in Sport Concussion Assessment Tool

Jian Chen, Bruce Oddson, and Heather C. Gilbert

basal ganglia may be a putative brain region that is involved in the full spectrum of concussion-induced consequences. There are several lines of evidence implicating basal ganglia in terms of structural damage and disruption of functional pathways of basal ganglia. Between cortical areas and basal

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1Hz rTMS Preconditioned by tDCS Over the Primary Motor Cortex in Parkinson’s Disease: Absence of Effect on Arm Lift and Hand Grip Force Control

Carsten Eggers, Ulrike Grüner, Mitra Ameli, Anna-Sophia Sarfeld, and Dennis A. Nowak

This study investigated whether a period of low frequency rTMS preconditioned by tDCS over the primary motor cortex modulates control of grip force in Parkinson’s disease. The presented results are from the same patient cohort tested in an earlier study (Gruner et al. J Neural Transm 2010: 117: 207–216). 15 patients with Parkinson’s disease (mean age: 69 ±8 years; average disease duration: 5 ±3 years) on dopaminergic drugs performed a grasp-lift task with either hand before (baseline) and after a period of 1Hz rTMS (90% of the resting motor threshold; 900 pulses) preconditioned by sham, anodal or cathodal tDCS (1mA, 10 min) over the primary motor cortex. We found that compared with baseline, none of the grip force parameters was significantly influenced by either stimulation session and concluded that grasping is a higher order motor skill, which cannot be modulated by tDCS preconditioned 1Hz rTMS in PD.

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Altered Trunk Position Sense and Its Relationship With Spinal Posture and Spinal Mobility in Patients With Parkinson’s Disease

Mustafa Ertuğrul Yaşa, Ali Rıza Sonkaya, Buse Korkmaz, Özge Çoban, and Necmiye Ün Yıldırım

pathophysiological mechanism, the main cause of these spinal deformities is still unknown ( Doherty et al., 2011 ). Many basal ganglia neurons have proprioceptive functions, suggesting that these nuclei play an important role in sensorimotor integration ( Konczak et al., 2009 ). Previous research has found that

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Differences in Activity of the Brain Networks During Voluntary Motor Tasks Engaging the Local and Global Muscular Systems of the Lower Trunk

Rafael Gnat, Agata Dziewońska, Maciej Biały, and Martyna Wieczorek

voxels of significantly increased activity during IA. They include different regions of the cerebellum, bilaterally (Clusters 3–4 in the Table  3 , Sections 1–4 in the Panel A, Figure  5a [white frame]); basal ganglia area, bilaterally (Cluster 1, Sections 5–7); cortical areas in the upper part of the

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Neural Basis Subserving the Detection of Postural Instability: An fMRI Study

Semyon Slobounov, Tao Wu, and Mark Hallett

Human upright posture is a product of a complex dynamic system that relies on integration of input from multimodal sensory sources. Extensive research has explored the role of visual, vestibular, and somatosensory systems in the control of upright posture. However, the role of higher cognitive function in a participant’s assessment of postural stability has been less studied. In previous research, we showed specific neural activation patterns in EEG associated with recognition of unstable postures in young healthy participants. Similar EEG patterns have been recently observed in regulation of posture equilibrium in dynamic stances. This article evaluates participants’ postural stability in dynamic stances and neural activation patterns underlying visual recognition of unstable postures using event-related functional MRI (fMRI). Our results show that the “stable” participants were successful in recognition of unstable postures of a computer-animated body model and experienced egocentric motion. Successful recognition of unstable postures in these participants induces activation of distinct areas of the brain including bilateral parietal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and bilateral cerebellum. In addition, significant activation is observed in basal ganglia (caudate nucleus and putamen) but only during perception of animated postures. Our findings suggest the existence of modality-specific distributed activation of brain areas responsible for detection of postural instability.

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Provision of External Cues and Movement Sequencing in Parkinson's Disease

Mark A. Rogers, James G. Phillips, John L. Bradshaw, Robert lansek, and Dean Jones

The basal ganglia (BG) may play a part in motor sequencing. Individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) may exhibit progressive slowing (sequence effect) during motor sequences such as writing (micrographia) and gait. In the present study, a serial two-way choice reaction time task was employed, in which advance information about each next movement was not provided until the participant began moving, thereby assessing the participant's ability to utilize advance information. Participants were 13 individuals with idiopathic PD and 13 age-matched controls. Both PD subjects and controls showed a significant sequence effect in the absence of advance information, possibly reflecting difficulty in initiating and maintaining movement without external cues. PD subjects and controls both exhibited a sequence effect at moderate levels of advance information. At high levels of advance information, PD subjects showed the effect but controls did not, suggesting that controls, unlike PD subjects, were able to use the extra information to facilitate performance, perhaps reflecting more frontal aspects of impairment in PD.

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Effects of Aging on Control of Timing and Force of Finger Tapping

Hirokazu Sasaki, Junya Masumoto, and Nobuyuki Inui

The present study examined whether the elderly produced a hastened or delayed tap with a negative or positive constant intertap interval error more frequently in self-paced tapping than in the stimulus-synchronized tapping for the 2 N target force at 2 or 4 Hz frequency. The analysis showed that, at both frequencies, the percentage of the delayed tap was larger in the self-paced tapping than in the stimulus-synchronized tapping, whereas the hastened tap showed the opposite result. At the 4 Hz frequency, all age groups had more variable intertap intervals during the self-paced tapping than during the stimulus-synchronized tapping, and the variability of the intertap intervals increased with age. Thus, although the increase in the frequency of delayed taps and variable intertap intervals in the self-paced tapping perhaps resulted from a dysfunction of movement timing in the basal ganglia with age, the decline in timing accuracy was somewhat improved by an auditory cue. The force variability of tapping at 4 Hz further increased with age, indicating an effect of aging on the control of force.

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Multimodal Training Reduces Fall Frequency as Physical Activity Increases in Individuals With Parkinson’s Disease

Amanda L. Penko, Jacob E. Barkley, Anson B. Rosenfeldt, and Jay L. Alberts

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common movement disorder estimated to affect nearly 7 million individuals worldwide. 1 The loss of dopaminergic neurons within the basal ganglia is the hallmark of PD and manifest in a clinical presentation of motor deficits (ie, postural instability and