Investigating the cortical origins of motor overflow

Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2004 Nov;46(3):315-27. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2004.07.013.


Motor overflow refers to the involuntary movements which may accompany the production of voluntary movements. While overflow is not usually seen in the normal population, it does present in children and the elderly, as well as those suffering certain neurological dysfunctions. Advancements in methodology over the last decade have allowed for more convincing conclusions regarding the cortical origins of motor overflow. However, despite significant research, the exact mechanism underlying the production of motor overflow is still unclear. This review presents a more comprehensive conceptualization of the theories of motor overflow, which have often been only vaguely defined. Further, the major findings are explored in an attempt to differentiate the competing theories of motor overflow production. This exploration is done in the context of a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders, in order to elucidate the possible underlying mechanisms of overflow.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Callosum / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / complications
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Movement Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Movement Disorders / psychology
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / complications
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / physiopathology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiology