Two experiments tested how changing a planned movement affects movement initiation and execution in idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. In Experiment 1, PD patients, elderly controls, and young adults performed discrete aiming movements to one of two targets on a digitizer. A precue (80% valid cue and 20% invalid cue of all trials) reflecting the subsequent movement direction was presented prior to the imperative stimulus. All groups produced slower reaction times (RTs) to the invalid precue condition. Only the subgroup of patients with slowest movement time showed a significant prolongation of movement for the invalid condition. This suggests that, in the most impaired patients, modifying a planned action also affects movement execution. In Experiment 2, two-segment aiming movements were used to increase the demand on movement planning. PD patients and elderly controls underwent the two precue conditions (80% valid, 20% invalid). Patients exhibited longer RTs than the controls. RT was similarly increased for the invalid condition in both groups. The patients, however, exhibited longer movement times, lower peak velocities, and higher normalized jerk scores of the first segment in the invalid condition compared to the valid condition. Conversely, the controls showed no difference between the valid and invalid cue conditions. Thus, PD patients demonstrated substantially pronounced movement slowness and variability when required to change a planned action. The results from both experiments suggest that modifying a planned action may continue beyond the initiation phase into the execution phase in PD patients. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Leis, BC, Rand, MK, Van Gemmert, AWA, Longstaff, MG, Lou, JS & Stelmach, GE 2005, 'Movement precues in planning and execution of aiming movements in Parkinson's disease', Experimental Neurology, vol. 194, no. 2, pp. 393-409.
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Publisher's version of article available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.expneurol.2005.02.014