Central motor loop oscillations in parkinsonian resting tremor revealed by magnetoencephalography

J. Volkmann, M. Joliot, A. Mogilner, A. A. Ioannides, F. Lado, E. Fazzini, U. Ribary, R. Llinás

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

267 Scopus citations


A variety of clinical and experimental findings suggest that parkinsonian resting tremor results from the involuntary activation of a central mechanism normally used for the production of rapid voluntary alternating movements. However, such central motor loop oscillations have never been directly demonstrated in parkinsonian patients. Using magnetoencephalography, we recorded synchronized and tremor-related neuromagnetic activity over wide areas of the frontal and parietal cortex. The spatial and temporal organization of this activity was studied in seven patients suffering from early-stage idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). Single equivalent current dipole (ECD) analysis and fully three-dimensional distributed source solutions (magnetic field tomography, MFT) were used in this analysis. ECD and MFT solutions were superimposed on high-resolution MRI. The findings indicate that 3 to 6 Hz tremor in PD is accompanied by rhythmic subsequent electrical activation at the diencephalic level and in lateral premotor, somatomotor, and somatosensory cortex. Tremor-evoked magnetic activity can be attributed to source generators that were previously described for voluntary movements. The interference of such slow central motor loop oscillations with voluntary motor activity may therefore constitute a pathophysiologic link between tremor and bradykinesia in PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1359-1370
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Central motor loop oscillations in parkinsonian resting tremor revealed by magnetoencephalography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this