Abnormal task driven neural oscillations in multiple sclerosis: A visuomotor MEG study

Eleanor L. Barratt, Prejaas K. Tewarie, Margareta A. Clarke, Emma L. Hall, Penny A. Gowland, Peter G. Morris, Susan T. Francis, Nikos Evangelou, Matthew J. Brookes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating disease commonly attributed to degradation of white matter myelin. Symptoms include fatigue, as well as problems associated with vision and movement. Although areas of demyelination in white matter are observed routinely in patients undergoing MRI scans, such measures are often a poor predictor of disease severity. For this reason, it is instructive to measure associated changes in brain function. Widespread white-matter demyelination may lead to delays of propagation of neuronal activity, and with its excellent temporal resolution, magnetoencephalography can be used to probe such delays in controlled conditions (e.g., during a task). In healthy subjects, responses to visuomotor tasks are well documented: in motor cortex, movement elicits a localised decrease in the power of beta band oscillations (event-related beta desynchronisation) followed by an increase above baseline on movement cessation (post-movement beta rebound (PMBR)). In visual cortex, visual stimulation generates increased gamma oscillations. In this study, we use a visuomotor paradigm to measure these responses in MS patients and compare them to age- and gender-matched healthy controls. We show a significant increase in the time-to-peak of the PMBR in patients which correlates significantly with the symbol digit modalities test: a measure of information processing speed. A significant decrease in the amplitude of visual gamma oscillations in patients is also seen. These findings highlight the potential value of electrophysiological imaging in generating a new understanding of visual disturbances and abnormal motor control in MS patients. Hum Brain Mapp 38:2441–2453, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2441-2453
Number of pages13
JournalHuman brain mapping
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • MEG
  • multiple sclerosis
  • neuronal oscillations
  • post-movement beta rebound
  • visual gamma
  • visuomotor abnormalities


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