We hypothesize that the evolution of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) may be related to differential effects of a concussive blow on the functional integrity of the brain default mode network (DMN) at rest and/or in response to physical stress. Accordingly, in this resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we examined 14 subjects 10±2 days post-sports-related mTBI and 15 age-matched normal volunteers (NVs) to investigate the possibility that the integrity of the DMN is disrupted at the resting state and/or following the physical stress test. First, all mTBI subjects were asymptomatic based upon clinical evaluation and neuropsychological (NP) assessments prior to the MRI session. Second, the functional integrity within the DMN, a main resting-state network, remained resilient to a single concussive blow. Specifically, the major regions of interest (ROIs) constituting the DMN (e.g., the posterior cingulate cortex [PCC]/precuneus area, the medial prefrontal cortex [MPFC], and left and right lateral parietal cortices [LLP and RLP]) and the connectivity within these four ROIs was similar between NVs and mTBI subjects prior to the YMCA physical stress test. However, the YMCA physical stress test disrupted the DMN, significantly reducing the magnitude of the connection between the PCC and left lateral parietal ROI, and PCC and right lateral parietal ROI, as well as between the PCC and MPFC in mTBI subjects. Thus while the DMN remained resilient to a single mTBI without exertion at 10 days post-injury, it was altered in response to limited physical stress. This may explain some clinical features of mTBI and provide some insight into its mechanism. This important finding should be considered by clinical practitioners when making decisions regarding return-to-play and clearing mTBI athletes for sports participation.
default mode network; resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging; subacute phase of mild traumatic brain injury
Artificial induction of plasticity by paired associative stimulation (PAS) in healthy subjects (HV) demonstrates Hebbian-like plasticity in selected inhibitory networks as well as excitatory ones. In a group of 17 patients with focal hand dystonia and a group of 19 HV, we evaluated how PAS and the learning of a simple motor task influence the circuits supporting long interval intracortical inhibition (LICI, reflecting activity of GABAB interneurons) and long latency afferent inhibition (LAI, reflecting activity of somatosensory inputs to the motor cortex).
In HV, PAS and motor learning induced LTP-like plasticity of excitatory networks and a lasting decrease of LAI and LICI in the motor representation of the targeted or trained muscle. The better the motor performance, the larger was the decrease of LAI. Although motor performance in the patient group was similar to that of the control group, LAI did not decrease during the motor learning as it did in the control group. In contrast, LICI was normally modulated. In patients the results after PAS did not match those obtained after motor learning: LAI was paradoxically increased and LICI did not exhibit any change.
In the normal situation, decreased excitability in inhibitory circuits after induction of LTP-like plasticity may help to shape the cortical maps according to the new sensorimotor task.
In patients, the abnormal or absent modulation of afferent and intracortical long-interval inhibition might indicate maladaptive plasticity that possibly contributes to the difficulty that they have to learn a new sensorimotor task.“
motor learning; dystonia; transcranial magnetic stimulation; GABA; plasticity
After clinical resolution of signs and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) it is still not clear if there are residual abnormalities of structural or functional brain networks. We have previously documented disrupted interhemispheric functional connectivity in “asymptomatic” concussed individuals during the sub-acute phase of injury. Testing of 15 normal volunteers (NV) and 15 subacute MTBI subjects was performed within 24 hours of clinical symptoms resolution and medical clearance for the first stage of aerobic activity. In this MRS study we report (a) both in the genu and splenium of the corpus callosum NAA/Cho and NAA/Cr ratios were significantly (p<0.05) lower in MTBI subjects shortly after the injury compared to NVs, and (b) the metabolic ratio NAA/Cho in the splenium significantly correlated with the magnitude of inter-hippocampal functional connectivity in normal volunteers, but not in MTBI. This novel finding supports our hypothesis that the functional disruption of interhemispheric brain networks in MTBI subjects results from compromised metabolic integrity of the corpus callosum and that this persists despite apparent clinical return to baseline.
A major feature of focal hand dystonia (FHD) pathophysiology is the loss of inhibition. One inhibitory process, surround inhibition, for which the cortical mechanisms are still unknown, is abnormal in FHD. Since the ventral premotor cortex (PMv) plays a key role in the sensorimotor processing involved in shaping finger movements and has many projections onto the primary motor cortex (M1), we hypothesized that the PMv-M1 connections might play a role in surround inhibition. A paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) paradigm was used in order to evaluate and compare the PMv-M1 interactions during different phases (rest, preparation and execution) of an index finger movement in FHD patients and controls. A sub-threshold conditioning pulse (80% resting motor threshold) was applied to the PMv 6 ms before M1 stimulation. Right abductor pollicis brevis, a surround muscle, was the target muscle. In healthy controls, the results show that PMv stimulation induced an ipsilateral ventral premotor-motor inhibition at rest. This cortico-cortical interaction changed into an early facilitation (100 ms before movement onset) and turned back to inhibition 50 ms later. In FHD patients, this PMv-M1 interaction and its modulation were absent. Our results show that although the ipsilateral ventral premotor-motor inhibition does not play a key role in the genesis of surround inhibition, PMv has a dynamic influence on M1 excitability during the early steps of motor execution. The impaired cortico-cortical interactions observed in FHD patients might contribute, at least in part, to the abnormal motor command.
TMS; Motor Cortex; ventral premotor cortex; surround inhibition; movement disorders
Advances in fMRI data acquisition and processing have made it possible to analyze brain activity as rapidly as the images are acquired allowing this information to be fed back to subjects in the scanner. The ability of subjects to learn to volitionally control localized brain activity within motor cortex using such real-time fMRI-based neurofeedback (NF) is actively being investigated as it may have clinical implications for motor rehabilitation after central nervous system injury and brain-computer interfaces. We investigated the ability of fifteen healthy volunteers to use NF to modulate brain activity within the primary motor cortex (M1) during a finger tapping and tapping imagery task. The M1 hand area ROI (ROIm) was functionally localized during finger tapping and a visual representation of BOLD signal changes within the ROIm fed back to the subject in the scanner. Surface EMG was used to assess motor output during tapping and ensure no motor activity was present during motor imagery task. Subjects quickly learned to modulate brain activity within their ROIm during the finger-tapping task, which could be dissociated from the magnitude of the tapping, but did not show a significant increase within the ROIm during the hand motor imagery task at the group level despite strongly activating a network consistent with the performance of motor imagery. The inability of subjects to modulate M1 proper with motor imagery may reflect an inherent difficulty in activating synapses in this area, with or without NF, since such activation may lead to M1 neuronal output and obligatory muscle activity. Future real-time fMRI-based NF investigations involving motor cortex may benefit from focusing attention on cortical regions other than M1 for feedback training or alternative feedback strategies such as measures of functional connectivity within the motor system.
Real-time functional MRI; neurofeedback; finger tapping; motor imagery; primary motor cortex; electromyography
Neuroimaging studies have elucidated some of the underlying physiology of spontaneous and voluntary eye blinking; however, the neural networks involved in eye blink suppression remain poorly understood. Here we investigated blink suppression by analyzing fMRI data in a block design and event-related manner, and employed a novel hypothetical time-varying neural response model to detect brain activations associated with the buildup of urge. Blinks were found to activate visual cortices while our block design analysis revealed activations limited to the middle occipital gyri and deactivations in medial occipital, posterior cingulate and precuneus areas. Our model for urge, however, revealed a widespread network of activations including right greater than left insular cortex, right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, middle cingulate cortex, and bilateral temporo-parietal cortices, primary and secondary face motor regions, and visual cortices. Subsequent inspection of BOLD time-series in an extensive ROI analysis showed that activity in the bilateral insular cortex, right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and bilateral STG and MTG showed strong correlations with our hypothetical model for urge suggesting these areas play a prominent role in the buildup of urge. The involvement of the insular cortex in particular, along with its function in interoceptive processing, help support a key role for this structure in the buildup of urge during blink suppression. The right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex findings in conjunction with its known involvement in inhibitory control suggest a role for this structure in maintaining volitional suppression of an increasing sense of urge. The consistency of our urge model findings with prior studies investigating the suppression of blinking and other bodily urges, thoughts, and behaviors suggests that a similar investigative approach may have utility in fMRI studies of disorders associated with abnormal urge suppression such as Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Eye blinking; urge suppression; fMRI; electrooculography
There are a number of symptoms, both neurological and behavioral, associated with a single episode of r mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Neuropsychological testing and conventional neuroimaging techniques are not sufficiently sensitive to detect these changes, which adds to the complexity and difficulty in relating symptoms from mTBI to their underlying structural or functional deficits. With the inability of traditional brain imaging techniques to properly assess the severity of brain damage induced by mTBI, there is hope that more advanced neuroimaging applications will be more sensitive, as well as specific, in accurately assessing mTBI. In this study, we used resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate the default mode network (DMN) in the subacute phase of mTBI. Fourteen concussed student-athletes who were asymptomatic based upon clinical symptoms resolution and clearance for aerobic exercise by medical professionals were scanned using resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Nine additional asymptomatic yet not medically cleared athletes were recruited to investigate the effect of a single episode of mTBI versus multiple mTBIs on the resting state DMN. In concussed individuals the resting state DMN showed a reduced number of connections and strength of connections in the posterior cingulate and lateral parietal cortices. An increased number of connections and strength of connections was seen in the medial prefrontal cortex. Connections between the left dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex and left lateral parietal cortex showed a significant reduction in magnitude as the number of concussions increased. Regression analysis also indicated an overall loss of connectivity as the number of mTBI episodes increased. Our findings indicate that alterations in the brain resting state default mode network in the subacute phase of injury may be of use clinically in assessing the severity of mTBI and offering some insight into the pathophysiology of the disorder.
Default Mode Network; Resting State fMRI; Sub-acute mTBI
Patients with Tourette Syndrome often state that their sensitivity to sensations is equally or more disruptive than are motor tics. However, their sensory sensitivity is not addressed by standard clinical assessments nor is it a focus of research. This lapse likely results from our limited awareness and understanding of the symptom. In this study we 1) defined the patients’ experience of sensitivity to external stimuli in detail, and 2) tested two hypotheses regarding its origin.
First, we administered a lengthy questionnaire and in-depth interviews to adult Tourette patients (n=19) and age-matched healthy volunteers (n=19). Eighty percent of patients described a heightened sensitivity to external stimuli, with examples among all 5 sensory modalities. Bothersome stimuli were characterized as faint, repetitive or constant, and non-salient, whereas intense stimuli were well-tolerated.
We then determined whether the sensitivity could be due to an increased ability to detect faint stimuli. After measuring the threshold of detection for olfactory and tactile stimuli among the patients and healthy volunteers, we found no significant difference for either sensory modality. These results indicate that patients’ perceived sensitivity derives from altered central processing rather than from enhanced peripheral detection.
Lastly, we assessed one aspect of processing: the perception of intensity. When subjects rated the intensity of near-threshold tactile and olfactory stimuli, there was a surprising difference: Tourette patients more frequently used the lowest range of the scale compared with healthy volunteers. Future research is necessary to define the anatomical and physiological basis of the patients’ experience of heightened sensitivity.
Tourette syndrome; tic; sensory; threshold
We investigated the effect of electrode area and inter-electrode distance on the spatial distribution of the current density in transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). For this purpose, we used the finite element method to compute the distribution of the current density in a four layered spherical head model using various electrode montages, corresponding to a range of electrode sizes and inter-electrode distances. We found that smaller electrodes required slightly less current to achieve a constant value of the current density at a reference point on the brain surface located directly under the electrode center. Under these conditions, smaller electrodes also produced a more focal current density distribution in the brain, i.e., the magnitude of the current density fell more rapidly with distance from the reference point. The combination of two electrodes with different areas produced an asymmetric current distribution that could lead to more effective and localized neural modulation under the smaller electrode than under the larger one. Focality improved rapidly with decreasing electrode size when the larger electrode sizes were considered but the improvement was less marked for the smaller electrode sizes. Also, focality was not affected significantly by inter-electrode distance unless two large electrodes were placed close together. Increasing the inter-electrode distance resulted in decreased shunting of the current through the scalp and the CSF, and decreasing electrode area resulted in increased current density on the scalp under the edges of the electrode.
Our calculations suggest that when working with conventional electrodes (25–35 cm2), one of the electrodes should be placed just “behind” the target relative to the other electrode, for maximum current density on the target. Also electrodes with areas in the range 3.5 to 12 cm2 may provide a better compromise between focality and current density in the scalp than the traditional electrodes. Finally, the use of multiple small return electrodes may be more efficient than the use of a single large return electrode.
tDCS; stimulation; electrode area; inter-electrode distance; focality; finite element method
Parkinsonism can be psychogenic, and psychogenic parkinsonism is about 10% of psychogenic movement disorder patients. Patients can present with any feature or combination of features of organic Parkinson’s disease. There are clinical clues that can lead to the correct diagnosis, and laboratory testing with clinical neurophysiology or DAT (dopamine transporter) scanning can be helpful as well. Patients may have both organic Parkinson’s disease and psychogenic parkinsonism, and this might be considered a psychologically induced aggravation of the organic disorder.
Parkinson’s disease; psychogenic movement disorder; conversion; tremor; Bradykinesia; rigidity; gait disorder; DAT scan
Existing therapeutic options for management of essential tremor are frequently limited by poor efficacy and adverse effects. Likely the most potent tremor suppressant used is ethanol, although its use is prohibitive due to a brief therapeutic window, and the obvious implications of excessive alcohol use. Longer-chain alcohols have been shown to suppress tremor in harmaline animal models, and appear to be safe and well tolerated in 2 prior studies in humans. Here we report on the findings of a phase I/II study of 1-octanol designed to explore pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety. The most significant finding was the identification of octanoic acid as the product of rapid 1-octanol metabolism. Furthermore, the temporal profile of efficacy closely matches the plasma concentration of octanoic acid. Therefore, these findings identify a novel class of compound (e.g., carboxylic acids) with tremor suppressive properties in ET. Administration of 1-octanol also appears to be safe based on various measures collected. Essential tremor (ET) is the most common tremor disorder, with tremors occurring during static posturing or movement. These tremors are known to briefly improve in many cases after alcohol (ethanol) consumption. Two previous studies of a longer chain alcohol, 1-octanol, have demonstrated longer duration tremor-suppressive effects without the occurrence of intoxication. The aim of this study was to characterize the pharmacokinetics of 1-octanol and its primary metabolite octanoic acid using two formulations, along with additional safety and efficacy measures. Participants with proven ethanol-responsive ET were recruited into 1 of 2 parts: (part A) a dose escalation study (1–64 mg/kg; n = 4), and (part B) a fixed dose (64 mg/kg; n = 10) balanced, open-label crossover design. Two participants in part B then completed an exploratory part C evaluating 128 mg/kg.Plasma samples were collected at 10 intervals during a 6-hour period postingestion. Efficacy was assessed using spirography, whereas safety was assessed with electrocardiograms, vital signs, adverse effects surveys, and an intoxication assessment. Plasma concentrations of 1-octanol were detectable at low levels whereas octanoic acid (OA) concentrations were approximately 100-fold higher. The half-life of OA was 87.6minutes. This was matched by a clinical reduction in tremor severity of 32% at 90 minutes, assessed using spirography. The safety profile was favorable, with the most commonly reported adverse effect being dysgeusia (38%). Early detection and higher plasma concentrations of OA are a product of rapid metabolism of 1-octanol.OA pharmacokinetics mirrored the timing of clinical improvement. These findings provide preliminary evidence for a new class of compound that may be effective in the treatment of ET.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-011-0045-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
1-Octanol; Octanoic acid; Essential tremor; Alcohol; Therapeutics; Spirography
Focal hand dystonia may be task-specific as is the case with writer’s cramp (WC). In early stages, the task-specificity can be so specific that it may be mistaken for a psychogenic movement disorder.
We describe four patients who showed extreme task specificity in WC. They initially only had problems writing either a single letter or number. Although they were largely thought to be psychogenic, they progressed to typical WC.
Early recognition of this condition may provide an opportunity for early initiation of treatment.
Dystonia; Movement Disorders; Clinical Neurology
Purpose of review
To review the recent advances in the epidemiology and pathophysiology of impulse control disorders (ICD) in Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Large cross-sectional and case-control multicentre studies show that ICDs in PD are common with a frequency of 13.6%. These behaviours are associated with impaired functioning and with depressive, anxiety and obsessive symptoms, novelty seeking and impulsivity. Behavioural subtypes demonstrate differences in novelty seeking and impulsivity suggesting pathophysiological differences. Observational and neurophysiological studies point towards a potential mechanistic overlap between the behavioural (ICDs) and motor (dyskinesias) dopaminergic sequelae. Converging data suggest dopamine agonists in ICDs appear to enhance learning from rewarding outcomes and impulsive choice. ICD patients also have enhanced risk preference and impaired working memory. Neuroimaging data points towards enhanced bottom-up ventral striatal dopamine release to incentive cues, gambling tasks and reward prediction, and possibly inhibition of top-down orbitofrontal influences. Dopamine agonist-related ventral striatal hypoactivity to risk is consistent with impaired risk evaluation.
Recent large scale studies and converging findings are beginning to provide an understanding of mechanisms underlying ICDs in PD which can guide prevention of these behaviours and optimize therapeutic approaches.
Impulse control disorders; Parkinson’s disease; dopamine agonists; pathological gambling; impulsivity
Focal dystonia is a neurological disorder characterized by unwanted muscle spasms. Blepharospasm is a focal dystonia producing an involuntary closure of the eyelid. Its etiology is unknown.
To investigate if there are structural changes in the white and grey matter of blepharospasm patients, and if the changes are related to disease features.
T1 and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans were collected from 14 female blepharospasm patients and 14 healthy matched controls. Grey matter volumes, fractional anisotropy (FA), and mean diffusivity maps were compared between the groups. Based on grey matter differences within the facial portion of the primary motor cortex, the corticobulbar tract was traced and compared between groups.
Changes in grey matter in patients included the facial portion of the sensorimotor area and anterior cingulate gyrus. These changes did not correlate with disease duration. Corticobulbar tract volume and peak tract connectivity were decreased in patients compared with controls. There were no significant differences in FA or mean diffusivity between groups.
Grey matter changes within the primary sensorimotor and the anterior cingulate cortices in blepharospasm patients may help explain involuntary eyelid closure and the abnormal sensations often reported in this condition.
Blepharospasm; Dystonia; Volumetric MRI; Magnetic resonance imaging; Diffusion weighted imaging
The aim of the present study was to investigate functional connectivity (FC) in focal hand dystonia (FHD) patients to understand the pathophysiology underlying their abnormality in movement. We recorded EEG from 58 electrodes in 15 FHD patients and 15 healthy volunteers during rest and a simple finger-tapping task that did not induce any dystonic symptoms. We investigated the mutual information (MI), which provides a quantitative measure of linear and nonlinear coupling, in the alpha, beta and gamma bands. Mean MI of all 58 channels and mean of the channels of interest (COIs) representative of regional FC over sensorimotor areas (C3, CP3, C4, CP4, FCz and Cz) were evaluated. For both groups, we found enhanced MI during the task compared to the rest condition specifically in the beta and gamma bands for mean MI of all channels, and in all bands for mean MI of COIs. Comparing the FHD patients to the healthy volunteers, for both rest and task, there was reduced MI in the beta band for both mean MI of all channels and mean MI of COIs. Regarding the properties of the connectivity in the beta band, we found that the majority of the MI differences were from linear connectivity. The abnormal beta band FC in FHD patients suggests deficient brain connectivity.
focal hand dystonia; mutual information; functional connectivity; sensorimotor integration
The pathophysiology of dystonia has been best studied in patients with focal hand dystonia. A loss of inhibitory function has been demonstrated at spinal, brainstem and cortical levels. Many cortical circuits seem to be involved. One consequence of the loss of inhibition is a failure of surround inhibition, and this appears to directly lead to overflow and unwanted muscle spasms. There are mild sensory abnormalities and deficits in sensorimotor integration; these also might be explained by a loss of inhibition. Increasing inhibition may be therapeutic. A possible hypothesis is that there is a genetic loss of inhibitory interneurons in dystonia and that this deficit is a substrate on which other factors can act to produce dystonia.
Impulse control disorders are common in Parkinson's; disease, occurring in 13.6% of patients. Using a pharmacological manipulation and a novel risk taking task while performing functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated the relationship between dopamine agonists and risk taking in patients with Parkinson's; disease with and without impulse control disorders. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, subjects chose between two choices of equal expected value: a ‘Sure’ choice and a ‘Gamble’ choice of moderate risk. To commence each trial, in the ‘Gain’ condition, individuals started at $0 and in the ‘Loss’ condition individuals started at −$50 below the ‘Sure’ amount. The difference between the maximum and minimum outcomes from each gamble (i.e. range) was used as an index of risk (‘Gamble Risk’). Sixteen healthy volunteers were behaviourally tested. Fourteen impulse control disorder (problem gambling or compulsive shopping) and 14 matched Parkinson's; disease controls were tested ON and OFF dopamine agonists. Patients with impulse control disorder made more risky choices in the ‘Gain’ relative to the ‘Loss’ condition along with decreased orbitofrontal cortex and anterior cingulate activity, with the opposite observed in Parkinson's; disease controls. In patients with impulse control disorder, dopamine agonists were associated with enhanced sensitivity to risk along with decreased ventral striatal activity again with the opposite in Parkinson's; disease controls. Patients with impulse control disorder appear to have a bias towards risky choices independent of the effect of loss aversion. Dopamine agonists enhance sensitivity to risk in patients with impulse control disorder possibly by impairing risk evaluation in the striatum. Our results provide a potential explanation of why dopamine agonists may lead to an unconscious bias towards risk in susceptible individuals.
Parkinson's; disease; dopamine; gambling; decision making; risk
Over the last 25 years, clinical neurophysiology has made many advances for the understanding, diagnosis and even treatment for different movement disorders. Transcranial magnetic stimulation has been the biggest technical advance. Progress in pathophysiology includes improved knowledge about bradykinesia in Parkinson’s disease, loss of inhibition and increased plasticity in dystonia, abnormal startle in hyperekplexia, and various features of psychogenic movement disorders that can aid diagnosis. Studies have been done looking at the use of non-invasive brain stimulation for therapy, but effects are generally small.
transcranial magnetic stimulation; EEG; EMG; Parkinson’s disease; Dystonia
Prior studies have explored the efficacy and safety of BoNT treatment for FHD, but none have followed a large number of patients for 10 or more years.
Retrospective study, with benefit and weakness assessed on a 0-4 subjective scale. Demographic, clinical and treatment characteristics were analyzed using t-tests and Pearson correlations.
20 FHD patients had 10 years or longer treatment. Inter-injection intervals were variable. Musicians were more likely to wait longer between injections and had less complex dystonia. There was a trend for larger benefit in women and with shorter intervals. The dose increased over time. Dystonia characteristics did not predict response or side-effects, but benefit magnitude predicted longer compliance. No serious side-effects or antibody-mediated resistance occurred.
This is the longest reported period of BoNT treatment in the largest FHD cohort. BoNT therapy for FHD remains safe and effective after more than a decade of treatment.
botulinum dystonia “focal hand dystonia”
There are a host of vague terms to describe psychologically-mediated symptoms that mimic neurological disease, such as “functional,” “non-organic,” “psychogenic,” or “medically unexplained.” None of these terms have a direct translation in psychiatric classification, and psychiatrists are often faced with patients who do not believe in a psychological origin for their symptoms.
Within the framework of psychogenic movement disorders, we discuss the roadblocks to effective collaboration and treatment in these patients and the current state of the literature regarding diagnosis and treatment.
We describe the approach to these patients from the perspective of neurology and psychiatry, illustrating the differences in terminology and categorization.
Psychogenic movement disorders represent a unique opportunity for these fields to collaborate in the care of a potentially curable but significantly disabling disorder.
Conversion Disorder; Hysteria; Psychogenic Movement Disorder; Stress - Psychological/psychology
Tremor in Parkinson's disease has several mysterious features. Clinically, tremor is seen in only three out of four patients with Parkinson's disease, and tremor-dominant patients generally follow a more benign disease course than non-tremor patients. Pathophysiologically, tremor is linked to altered activity in not one, but two distinct circuits: the basal ganglia, which are primarily affected by dopamine depletion in Parkinson's disease, and the cerebello-thalamo-cortical circuit, which is also involved in many other tremors. The purpose of this review is to integrate these clinical and pathophysiological features of tremor in Parkinson's disease. We first describe clinical and pathological differences between tremor-dominant and non-tremor Parkinson's disease subtypes, and then summarize recent studies on the pathophysiology of tremor. We also discuss a newly proposed ‘dimmer-switch model’ that explains tremor as resulting from the combined actions of two circuits: the basal ganglia that trigger tremor episodes and the cerebello-thalamo-cortical circuit that produces the tremor. Finally, we address several important open questions: why resting tremor stops during voluntary movements, why it has a variable response to dopaminergic treatment, why it indicates a benign Parkinson's disease subtype and why its expression decreases with disease progression.
Parkinson's disease; tremor; basal ganglia; cerebellum, thalamus
The acquisition of new motor skills is essential throughout daily life and involves the processes of learning new motor sequence and encoding elementary aspects of new movement. Although previous animal studies have suggested a functional importance for striatal dopamine release in the learning of new motor sequence, its role in encoding elementary aspects of new movement has not yet been investigated. To elucidate this, we investigated changes in striatal dopamine levels during initial skill-training (Day 1) compared with acquired conditions (Day 2) using 11C-raclopride positron-emission tomography. Ten volunteers learned to perform brisk contractions using their non-dominant left thumbs with the aid of visual feedback. On Day 1, the mean acceleration of each session was improved through repeated training sessions until performance neared asymptotic levels, while improved motor performance was retained from the beginning on Day 2. The 11C-raclopride binding potential (BP) in the right putamen was reduced during initial skill-training compared with under acquired conditions. Moreover, voxel-wise analysis revealed that 11C-raclopride BP was particularly reduced in the right antero-dorsal to the lateral part of the putamen. Based on findings from previous fMRI studies that show a gradual shift of activation within the striatum during the initial processing of motor learning, striatal dopamine may play a role in the dynamic cortico-striatal activation during encoding of new motor memory in skill acquisition.
This article is based on a consensus conference, which took place in Certosa di Pontignano, Siena (Italy) on March 7–9, 2008, intended to update the previous safety guidelines for the application of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in research and clinical settings.
Over the past decade the scientific and medical community has had the opportunity to evaluate the safety record of research studies and clinical applications of TMS and repetitive TMS (rTMS). In these years the number of applications of conventional TMS has grown impressively, new paradigms of stimulation have been developed (e.g., patterned repetitive TMS) and technical advances have led to new device designs and to the real-time integration of TMS with electroencephalography (EEG), positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thousands of healthy subjects and patients with various neurological and psychiatric diseases have undergone TMS allowing a better assessment of relative risks. The occurrence of seizures (i.e., the most serious TMS-related acute adverse effect) has been extremely rare, with most of the few new cases receiving rTMS exceeding previous guidelines, often in patients under treatment with drugs which potentially lower the seizure threshold.
The present updated guidelines review issues of risk and safety of conventional TMS protocols, address the undesired effects and risks of emerging TMS interventions, the applications of TMS in patients with implanted electrodes in the central nervous system, and safety aspects of TMS in neuroimaging environments. We cover recommended limits of stimulation parameters and other important precautions, monitoring of subjects, expertise of the rTMS team, and ethical issues. While all the recommendations here are expert based, they utilize published data to the extent possible.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation; TMS; rTMS; Safety
Self-agency (SA) is the individual's perception that an action is the consequence of his/her own intention. The neural networks underlying SA are not well understood. We carried out a novel, ecologically valid, virtual-reality experiment using blood oxygen level–dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) where SA could be modulated in real-time while subjects performed voluntary finger movements. Behavioral testing was also performed to assess the explicit judgment of SA. Twenty healthy volunteers completed the experiment. Results of the behavioral testing demonstrated paradigm validity along with the identification of a bias that led subjects to over- or underestimate the amount of control they had. The fMRI experiment identified 2 discrete networks. These leading and lagging networks likely represent a spatial and temporal flow of information, with the leading network serving the role of mismatch detection and the lagging network receiving this information and mediating its elevation to conscious awareness, giving rise to SA.
efference copy; fMRI; ownership; sense of agency; voluntary movement
The neurochemical basis of dystonia is unknown. The purpose of this study was to assess the differences of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, in the sensorimotor cortex and the basal ganglia using MR Spectroscopy with optimized GABA sensitivity. 22 patients with focal hand dystonia and 22 healthy controls were studied. No significant differences in GABA were observed between groups in either the sensorimotor cortex or in the basal ganglia.