Bradykinesia and Its Progression Are Related to Interhemispheric Beta Coherence

Ann Neurol. 2023 May;93(5):1029-1039. doi: 10.1002/ana.26605. Epub 2023 Feb 1.


Objective: Bradykinesia is the major cardinal motor sign of Parkinson disease (PD), but its neural underpinnings are unclear. The goal of this study was to examine whether changes in bradykinesia following long-term subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) are linked to local STN beta (13-30 Hz) dynamics or a wider bilateral network dysfunction.

Methods: Twenty-one individuals with PD implanted with sensing neurostimulators (Activa® PC + S, Medtronic, PLC) in the STN participated in a longitudinal 'washout' therapy study every three to 6 months for an average of 3 years. At each visit, participants were withdrawn from medication (12/24/48 hours) and had DBS turned off (>60 minutes) before completing a repetitive wrist-flexion extension task, a validated quantitative assessment of bradykinesia, while local field potentials were recorded. Local STN beta dynamics were investigated via beta power and burst duration, while interhemispheric beta synchrony was assessed with STN-STN beta coherence.

Results: Higher interhemispheric STN beta coherence, but not contralateral beta power or burst duration, was significantly associated with worse bradykinesia. Bradykinesia worsened off therapy over time. Interhemispheric STN-STN beta coherence also increased over time, whereas beta power and burst duration remained stable. The observed change in bradykinesia was related to the change in interhemispheric beta coherence, with greater increases in synchrony associated with further worsening of bradykinesia.

Interpretation: Together, these findings implicate interhemispheric beta synchrony as a neural correlate of the progression of bradykinesia following chronic STN DBS. This could imply the existence of a pathological bilateral network contributing to bradykinesia in PD. ANN NEUROL 2023;93:1029-1039.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Deep Brain Stimulation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hypokinesia / complications
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy
  • Subthalamic Nucleus* / physiology