What causes the characteristic slowing of movements in patients with Parkinson's disease? Electrical oscillations of nerve cells in the depths of the brain and the cerebral cortex are pathologically coupled with each other. Researchers know this from recordings made during an operation on the brains of Parkinson's patients when a brain pacemaker was inserted.
But can this coupling also be recognized if the electrical nerve activity is only derived from the patient's scalp using a so-called EEG, electroencephalogram? Doctoral student Ruxue Gong and a team of scientists led by Prof. Dr. Joseph Classen, director of the clinic and polyclinic for neurology at the University Hospital Leipzig and Prof. Dr. Thomas Knösche, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.
In the EEG measurements, which only lasted five minutes, the researchers actually found such couplings in Parkinson's patients, which, compared to healthy subjects, are stronger in brain regions that serve to control movement. Breaking couplings between vibrations at different locations could be particularly important for therapy of Parkinson's symptoms. "We hope that in future the coupled electrical oscillations in Parkinson's patients can be corrected with external electrical or magnetic stimulation without the need for an operation," says Claßen. "With our mathematical model calculations, we want to identify the characteristics that such innovative therapies must have in order to be successful. The new findings could have provided an important building block for this,” explains Knösche.
Pathological coupling was also found in a single area of the frontal cortex that is poorly involved in motor control. "Perhaps the cognitive disorders that exist in some Parkinson's patients have a common cause with the motor disorders," says Claßen. This thesis will be further investigated in future studies.
Original title of publication in “BRAIN, a Journal of Neurology”:
“Spatiotemporal features of β-γ phase-amplitude coupling in Parkinson's disease derived from scalp EEG”, doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa400
Source: Press release from the University of Leipzig from September 09.12.2020th, XNUMX