Beta power and movement-related beta modulation as hallmarks of energy for plasticity induction: Implications for Parkinson's disease

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2021 Jul:88:136-139. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2021.05.018. Epub 2021 Jun 3.


Extensive work on movement-related beta oscillations (~13-30 Hz) over the sensorimotor areas in both humans and animals has demonstrated that sensorimotor beta power decreases during movement and transiently increases after movement. This beta power modulation has been interpreted as reflecting interactions between sensory and motor cortical areas with attenuation of sensory afferents during movement and their subsequent re-activation for internal models updating. More recent studies in neurologically normal subjects have demonstrated that this movement-related modulation as well as mean beta power at rest increase with practice and that previous motor learning enhances such increases. Conversely, patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) do not show such practice-related increases. Interestingly, a 2-h inactivity period without sleep can restore beta power values to baseline in normal subjects. Based on these results and on those of biochemical and electrophysiological studies in animals, we expand the current interpretation of beta activity and propose that the practice-related increases of beta power over sensorimotor areas are local indices of energy used for engaging plasticity-related activity. This paper provides some preliminary evidence in this respect linking findings of biochemical and electrophysiological studies in both humans and animals. This novel interpretation may explain the high level of beta power at rest, the deficient modulation during movement as well as the decreased skill formation in PD as resulting from deficiency in energy consumption, availability and regulation that are altered in this disease.

Keywords: Bradykinesia; ERD; ERS; Learning; Retention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Beta Rhythm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypokinesia / physiopathology*
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Practice, Psychological*
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology*
  • Sensorimotor Cortex / physiopathology*