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Title: The role of oscillatory synchrony in motor control
Author: Androulidakis, Alexandros Georgios
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 8218
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Synchronized oscillations are manifest in various regions in the motor system. Their variable nature has increased the interest in the functional significance. Subcortical and cortical activity in the beta band is pathologically increased in Parkinson's disease (PD) - a state dominated by bradykinesia and rigidity. After the administration of the drug levodopa, beta activity and motor impairment are substantially decreased, while activity in the gamma band is increased. The function of beta bursts within the healthy motor system remains unknown. Recent evidence suggests that beta activity may promote the existing motor set and posture. In this thesis, with the use of positional hold tasks the role of beta activity on performance will be examined. It will be demonstrated that during bursts of beta synchrony in the corticomuscular system of healthy subjects there is an improvement, in the performance of these tasks. The findings will argue that physiological fluctuations in the beta band in the motor system may be of behavioural advantage during fine postural tasks involving the hand. The present work will also examine the role of population oscillations in the parkinsonian basal ganglia. It will demonstrate that under levodopa treatment the pattern of movement-related reactivity in the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and the pedunculopontine nucleus (PPN) as well as the background activity in the PPN change significantly. It will be shown that levodopa suppresses movement-related beta activity around the time of self-paced movements and promotes the increase of movement-related gamma activity contralateral to the movement side, following the same pattern as in the non dopamine-depleted brain. This suggests that dopaminergic therapy restores a more physiological pattern of reactivity in the STN. In the untreated state, beta activity in the STN will be shown to be modulated during repetitive self-paced movements, reflecting a role in ongoing performance, but only when motor performance is maximal and not when bradykinesia occurs. Finally, it will be demonstrated that levodopa promotes alpha band activity in the PPN at rest and before movement suggesting a possible physiological role of this activity in this nucleus. These observations provide further insight in the function of neuronal synchronization in the motor system in health and disease.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available