Novel technique to estimate cortical rhythms in the cortex during upper limb movement


Precise motor control requires the ability to scale the parameters of movement. Theta oscillations across the cortex have been associated with changes in memory, attention, and sensorimotor processing. What has proven more elusive is pinpointing the region-specific frequency band oscillations that are associated with specific parameters of movement during the acceleration and deceleration phases. We report a study using 3D analytic techniques for high density electroencephalography that examines electrocortical dynamics while participants produce upper limb movements to different distances at varying rates. During fast ballistic movements, we observed increased theta band activity in the left motor area contralateral to the moving limb during the acceleration phase of the movement, and theta power correlated with the acceleration of movement. In contrast, beta band activity scaled with the type of movement during the deceleration phase near the end of the movement and correlated with movement time. In the ipsilateral motor and somatosensory area, alpha band activity decreased with the type of movement near the end of the movement, and gamma band activity in visual cortex increased with the type of movement near the end of the movement. Our results suggest that humans use distinct lateralized cortical activity for distance and speed dependent arm movements. We provide new evidence that a temporary increase in theta band power relates to movement acceleration and is important during movement execution. Further, the theta power increase is coupled with desychronization of beta band power and alpha band power which are modulated by the task near the end of movement.

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