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Complexity Affects Regional Cerebral Blood Flow Change During Sequential Finger Movements
N. Sadato, G. Campbell, V. Ibáñez, M. Deiber, M. Hallett
Published 1996 · Psychology, Medicine
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Brain regions activated with complex sequential finger movements were localized by measuring regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) with positron emission tomography. Whereas the total number and frequency of finger movements were kept constant, the complexity of auditory cued sequential finger movements of the right hand varied, with sequence length as the independent variable. In four conditions of differing complexity, the bilateral primary sensorimotor area, left ventral premotor cortex, posterior supplementary motor area, right superior part of the cerebellum, and left putamen were consistently and equally activated. This finding suggests an executive role in running sequences, regardless of their length. The right dorsal premotor cortex (Brodmann area 6) and the right precuneus (Brodmann area 7) showed a linear increase of rCBF as sequence complexity increased. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that these areas function in the storage of motor sequences in spatial working memory and the production of ongoing sequential movement with reference to that of buffered memory. A similar increase in the cerebellar vermis and the left thalamus likewise suggests a role of these subcortical structures in complexity of sequential finger movements. Conversely, the left inferior parietal lobule showed a decrease of rCBF as complexity increased. Because short-term phonological storage is localized to this area, we suggest that the visuospatial working memory system may suppress other systems not in use. Our findings suggest that complex sequential finger movements recruit a discrete set of brain areas, in addition to areas underlying the execution of simple movement sequences.
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