The purpose of the study was to analyze corticomuscular coherence during planning and execution of simple hand movements in individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) and healthy controls (HC). Fourteen individuals with CP and 15 HC performed voluntary paced movements (opening and closing the fist) in response to a warning signal. Simultaneous scalp EEG and surface EMG of extensor carpi radialis brevis were recorded during 15 isotonic contractions. Time-frequency corticomuscular coherence (EMG-C3/C4) before and during muscular contraction, as well as EMG intensity, onset latency and duration were analyzed. Although EMG intensity was similar in both groups, individuals with CP exhibited longer onset latency and increased duration of the muscular contraction than HC. CP also showed higher corticomuscular coherence in beta EEG band during both planning and execution of muscular contraction, as well as lower corticomuscular coherence in gamma EEG band at the beginning of the contraction as compared with HC. In conclusion, our results suggest that individuals with CP are characterized by an altered functional coupling between primary motor cortex and effector muscles during planning and execution of isotonic contractions. In addition, the usefulness of corticomuscular coherence as a research tool for exploring deficits in motor central processing in persons with early brain damage is discussed.
Keywords: Cerebral palsy; Corticomuscular coherence; Isotonic contraction.
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