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Self-paced Versus Metronome-paced Finger Movements. A Positron Emission Tomography Study.

K. Wessel, T. Zeffiro, C. Toro, M. Hallett
Published 1997 · Medicine

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To evaluate the hypothesis that self-paced movements are mediated primarily by the supplementary motor area, whereas externally triggered movements are mainly affected by the lateral premotor cortex, different movements in 6 healthy volunteers were studied while changes in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) were measured using positron emission tomography (PET) and 15O-labeled water. Subjects made a series of finger opposition movements initiated in a self-paced manner every 4 to 6 seconds, and separately, made continuous finger opposition movements at a frequency of 2 Hz paced by a metronome. The primary motor cortex, lateral area 6, cerebellum on both sides, and caudal cingulate motor area, and the putamen and thalamus on the contralateral side were more active during the metronome-paced movements. The increases in rCBF in these areas are likely the result of the larger number of movements per minute made with the externally triggered task. The anterior supplementary motor area and rostral cingulate motor area in the midline, prefrontal cortices bilaterally, and lobus parietalis inferior on the ipsilateral side were more active during the self-paced movements. Increases in rCBF in those areas, which include medial premotor structures, may be related to the increased time devoted to planning the movement in this condition.
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