Electrocortical Dynamics of Usual Walking and the Planning to Step over Obstacles in Parkinson’s Disease

Rodrigo Vitório*, Ellen Lirani-Silva, Diego Orcioli-Silva, Victor Spiandor Beretta, Anderson Souza Oliveira, Lilian Teresa Bucken Gobbi

*Corresponding author for this work

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The neural correlates of locomotion impairments observed in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) are not fully understood. We investigated whether people with PD present distinct brain electrocortical activity during usual walking and the approach phase of obstacle avoidance when compared to healthy individuals. Fifteen people with PD and fourteen older adults walked overground in two conditions: usual walking and obstacle crossing. Scalp electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded using a mobile 64-channel EEG system. Independent components were clustered using a k-means clustering algorithm. Outcome measures included absolute power in several frequency bands and alpha/beta ratio. During the usual walk, people with PD presented a greater alpha/beta ratio in the left sensorimotor cortex than healthy individuals. While approaching obstacles, both groups reduced alpha and beta power in the premotor and right sensorimotor cortices (balance demand) and increased gamma power in the primary visual cortex (visual demand). Only people with PD reduced alpha power and alpha/beta ratio in the left sensorimotor cortex when approaching obstacles. These findings suggest that PD affects the cortical control of usual walking, leading to a greater proportion of low-frequency (alpha) neuronal firing in the sensorimotor cortex. Moreover, the planning for obstacle avoidance changes the electrocortical dynamics associated with increased balance and visual demands. People with PD rely on increased sensorimotor integration to modulate locomotion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4866
Pages (from-to)4866
Number of pages13
Issue number10
Early online date17 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2023

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