Automatic online motor control is intact in Parkinson’s Disease with and without perceptual awareness Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • In the double-step paradigm, healthy human participants automatically correct reaching movements when targets are displaced. Motor deficits are prominent in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. In the lone investigation of online motor correction in PD using the double-step task, a recent study found that PD patients performed unconscious adjustments appropriately but seemed impaired for consciously-perceived modifications. Conscious perception of target movement was achieved by linking displacement to movement onset. PD-related bradykinesia disproportionately prolonged preparatory phases for movements to original target locations for patients, potentially accounting for deficits. Eliminating this confound in a double-step task, we evaluated the effect of conscious awareness of trajectory change on online motor corrections in PD. On and off dopaminergic therapy, PD patients (n = 14) and healthy controls (n = 14) reached to peripheral visual targets that remained stationary or unexpectedly moved during an initial saccade. Saccade latencies in PD are comparable to controls'. Hence, target displacements occurred at equal times across groups. Target jump size affected conscious awareness, confirmed in an independent target displacement judgment task. Small jumps were subliminal, but large target displacements were consciously perceived. Contrary to the previous result, PD patients performed online motor corrections normally and automatically, irrespective of conscious perception. Patients evidenced equivalent movement durations for jump and stay trials, and trajectories for patients and controls were identical, irrespective of conscious perception. Dopaminergic therapy had no effect on performance. In summary, online motor control is intact in PD, unaffected by conscious perceptual awareness. The basal ganglia are not implicated in online corrective responses.

authors

  • Merritt, Kate E
  • Seergobin, Ken N
  • Mendonça, Daniel A
  • Jenkins, Mary E
  • Goodale, Melvyn A
  • MacDonald, Penny A

publication date

  • 2017

published in