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George E. Carvell, PhD, PT   University of Pittsburgh
Parkinsonís Disease: Consequences of reduced thalamocortical drive from BG
Does a reduced thalamocortical drive from basal ganglia result in a denervated sensorimotor cortex? A number of studies have suggested that the frontal lobe is hypoactive in PD. Six normal subjects (fig 1- left) and six individuals with PD (fig 2- right) practiced a right-handed sequential movement task. All subjects were right-handed. PD subjects off meds for 12 hours prior to testing. After reaching a criterion level of performance they performed the task while their brains were imaged (fMRI). This study shows an increased level of activation in the SMA, sensorimotor cortices, and portions of the parietal lobe for PD subjects vs. neurologically intact subjects. Table 2 shows no difference in performance for two groups.
U. Sabatini, et al, Cortical Motor Reorganization in Akinetic Patients with Parkinsonís Disease A functional MRI Study. Brain 123: 394-403, 2000.
Table 2 p 396
Fig 1
 p 397
Fig 2
  p 397