Detalle Publicación

Motor sequence learning in the elderly: differential activity patterns as a function of hand modality

Título de la revista: BRAIN IMAGING AND BEHAVIOR
ISSN: 1931-7557
Volumen: 11
Número: 4
Páginas: 986 - 997
Fecha de publicación: 2017
Previous research on motor sequence learning (MSL) in the elderly has focused mainly on unilateral tasks, even though bilateral coordination might be impaired in this age group. In this fMRI study, 28 right-handed elderly subjects were recruited. The paradigm consisted of a Novel and a simple Control sequence executed with the right (R), left (L) and both hands (B). Behavioral performance (Accuracy[AC], Inter-tap Interval[ITI]) and associated brain activity were assessed during early learning. Behavioral performance in the Novel task was similar between unilateral conditions whereas in the bimanual condition more errors and slower motor execution were observed. Brain activity increases during learning showed differences between Conditions: R showed increased activity in pre-SMA, basal ganglia and left hippocampus while B showed activity increments mainly in posterior parietal cortex and cerebellum. L did not show any activity modulation during learning. Performance correlates for AC (related to spatial success) and ITI (related to accurate timing) shared a cortico-basal-cerebellar network. However, it was found that the ITI regressor presented additional significant correlations with activity in SMA and basal ganglia in R. The AC regressor showed additional significant correlations with activity in more extended thalamic and cerebellar areas in B. The present findings suggest that, behaviorally, the spatial and temporal components of MSL are impaired in elderly subjects when using both hands. Additionally, differential brain activity patterns were found across hand modalities. The results obtained reveal the existence of a highly specialized network in the dominant hand and identify areas specifically involved in bimanual coordination.