In Parkinson's disease (PD) levodopa-associated changes in the power and long-range temporal correlations of beta oscillations have been demonstrated, yet the presence and modulation of genuine connectivity in local field potentials (LFP) recorded from the subthalamic nucleus (STN) remains an open question. The present study investigated LFP recorded bilaterally from the STN at wakeful rest in ten patients with PD after overnight withdrawal of levodopa (OFF) and after a single dose levodopa administration (ON). We utilized connectivity measures being insensitive to volume conduction (functional connectivity: non-zero imaginary part of coherency; effective connectivity: phase-slope index). We demonstrated the presence of neuronal interactions in the frequency range of 10-30 Hz in STN-LFP without a preferential directionality of interactions between different contacts along the electrode tracks. While the direction of neuronal interactions per se was preserved after levodopa administration, functional connectivity and the ventral-dorsal information flow were modulated by medication. The OFF-ON differences in functional connectivity were correlated with the levodopa-induced improvement in clinical Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale scores. We hypothesize that regional neuronal interactions, as reflected in STN-LFP connectivity, might represent a basis for the intra-nuclear spatial specificity of deep brain stimulation. Moreover, our results suggest the potential use of volume conduction-insensitive measures of connectivity in STN-LFP as a marker of clinical motor symptoms in PD.
Studying how the healthy human brain develops is important to understand early pathological mechanisms and to assess the influence of fetal or perinatal events on later life. Brain development relies on complex and intermingled mechanisms especially during gestation and first post-natal months, with intense interactions between genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors. Although the baby's brain is organized early on, it is not a miniature adult brain: regional brain changes are asynchronous and protracted, i.e. sensory-motor regions develop early and quickly, whereas associative regions develop later and slowly over decades. Concurrently, the infant/child gradually achieves new performances, but how brain maturation relates to changes in behavior is poorly understood, requiring non-invasive in vivo imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Two main processes of early white matter development are reviewed: (1) establishment of connections between brain regions within functional networks, leading to adult-like organization during the last trimester of gestation, (2) maturation (myelination) of these connections during infancy to provide efficient transfers of information. Current knowledge from post-mortem descriptions and in vivo MRI studies is summed up, focusing on T1- and T2-weighted imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, and quantitative mapping of T1/T2 relaxation times, myelin water fraction and magnetization transfer ratio.
Corticomuscular coherence (CMC) relates to synchronization between activity in themotor cortex and the muscle activity. The strength of CMC can be affected by motor behavior. In a proof-of-principle study, we examined whether independent of motor output parameters, healthy subjects are able to voluntarily modulate CMC in aneurofeedback paradigm.
Subjects received visual online feedback of their instantaneous CMC strength, which was calculated between an optimized spatial projection of multichannel electroencephalography (EEG) and electromyography (EMG) in an individually defined target frequency range. The neurofeedback training consisted of either increasing or decreasing CMC strength using a self-chosen mental strategy while performing a simple motor task. Evaluation of instantaneous coherence showed that CMC strength was significantly larger when subjects had to increase than when to decrease CMC; this difference between the two task conditions did not depend on motor performance. The exclusion of confounding factors such as motor performance, attention and task complexity in study design provides evidence that subjects were able to voluntarily modify CMC independent of motor output parameters. Additional analysis further strengthened the assumption that the subjects’ response was specifically shaped by the neurofeedback.
In perspective, we suggest that CMC-based neurofeedback could provide a therapeutic approach in clinical conditions, such as motor stroke, where CMC is altered.