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Movement-related processing results in the modulation of neuronal synchronization over several electroencephalography (EEG) frequency ranges, including alpha- (8-12 Hz) and beta-band (14-30 Hz). Whether modulation patterns differ across sites within the motor system remains unclear, but could denote how information is conveyed across the cortico-basal network. We therefore compared the event-related synchronization/desynchronization (ERS/ERD) in recordings from the scalp, basal ganglia and thalamic structures during a motor task. Simultaneous depth and scalp EEG were recorded in 13 patients, undergoing deep brain stimulation of the thalamic ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) or the subthalamic nucleus (STN). They performed a choice-reaction task with pre-cued Go-signals, instructive for either left- or right-sided button presses. In the beta-band, pre-cues and Go-signals were followed by ERD starting well before and peaking at task execution, uniformly in all cortical and subcortical recordings. In contrast, a comparable alpha-band ERD was only seen at the scalp, whereas mirror-like ERS were observed in the motor-inhibitory STN. In VIM, which receives strong somatosensory afferences, a major alpha-ERD upon the Go-signal did not start until the motor response. These dissociations of task-related Alpha- and Beta-band dynamics tag a functional diversity in cortico-basal networks, which are simultaneously active in motor processing. Whereas the uniform downregulation of Beta-activity points to an anti-kinetic operation mode throughout the motor system, site-dependent courses of Alpha-synchronization rather reflect the coordination of activity levels in functionally divergent motor structures during the preparation and execution of movements.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Neurosci

Publication Date





1604 - 1615


Adult, Aged, Alpha Rhythm, Beta Rhythm, Brain Mapping, Choice Behavior, Cortical Synchronization, Deep Brain Stimulation, Electroencephalography, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Motor Cortex, Movement Disorders, Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time