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Oscillatory activities in the brain within the beta (15-30 Hz) and gamma (70-90 Hz) ranges have been implicated in the generation of voluntary movement. However, their roles remain unclear. Here, we record local field potential activity from the region of the subthalamic nucleus during movement of the contralateral limb in 11 patients with Parkinson's disease. Patients were on their normal dopaminergic medication and were cued to perform arm-reaching movements after a delay period at three different speeds: 'slow', 'normal', and 'fast'. Beta activity desynchronized earlier in response to the cue indicating an upcoming fast reach than to the cues for slow or normal speed movement. There was no difference in the degree of beta desynchronization between reaching speeds and beta desynchronization was established prior to movement onset in all cases. In contrast, synchronization in the gamma range developed during the reaching movement, and was especially pronounced during fast reaching. Thus the timing of suppression in the beta band depended on task demands, whereas the degree of increase in gamma oscillations depended on movement speed. These findings point to functionally segregated roles for different oscillatory frequencies in motor preparation and performance.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Neurol

Publication Date





319 - 326


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Arm, Brain Waves, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Movement, Parkinson Disease, Photic Stimulation, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time, Subthalamic Nucleus