Movement preparation and execution: differential functional activation patterns after traumatic brain injury

Jolien Gooijers, Iseult A M Beets, Genevieve Albouy, Kurt Beeckmans, Karla Michiels, Stefan Sunaert, Stephan P Swinnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Years following the insult, patients with traumatic brain injury often experience persistent motor control problems, including bimanual coordination deficits. Previous studies revealed that such deficits are related to brain structural white and grey matter abnormalities. Here, we assessed, for the first time, cerebral functional activation patterns during bimanual movement preparation and performance in patients with traumatic brain injury, using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Eighteen patients with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (10 females; aged 26.3 years, standard deviation = 5.2; age range: 18.4-34.6 years) and 26 healthy young adults (15 females; aged 23.6 years, standard deviation = 3.8; age range: 19.5-33 years) performed a complex bimanual tracking task, divided into a preparation (2 s) and execution (9 s) phase, and executed either in the presence or absence of augmented visual feedback. Performance on the bimanual tracking task, expressed as the average target error, was impaired for patients as compared to controls (P < 0.001) and for trials in the absence as compared to the presence of augmented visual feedback (P < 0.001). At the cerebral level, movement preparation was characterized by reduced neural activation in the patient group relative to the control group in frontal (bilateral superior frontal gyrus, right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), parietal (left inferior parietal lobe) and occipital (right striate and extrastriate visual cortex) areas (P's < 0.05). During the execution phase, however, the opposite pattern emerged, i.e. traumatic brain injury patients showed enhanced activations compared with controls in frontal (left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, left lateral anterior prefrontal cortex, and left orbitofrontal cortex), parietal (bilateral inferior parietal lobe, bilateral superior parietal lobe, right precuneus, right primary somatosensory cortex), occipital (right striate and extrastriate visual cortices), and subcortical (left cerebellum crus II) areas (P's < 0.05). Moreover, a significant interaction effect between Feedback Condition and Group in the primary motor area (bilaterally) (P < 0.001), the cerebellum (left) (P < 0.001) and caudate (left) (P < 0.05), revealed that controls showed less overlap of activation patterns accompanying the two feedback conditions than patients with traumatic brain injury (i.e. decreased neural differentiation). In sum, our findings point towards poorer predictive control in traumatic brain injury patients in comparison to controls. Moreover, irrespective of the feedback condition, overactivations were observed in traumatically brain injured patients during movement execution, pointing to more controlled processing of motor task performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2469-2485
Number of pages17
JournalBrain
Volume139
Issue number9
Early online date19 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016

Keywords

  • fMRI
  • traumatic brain injury
  • bimanual motor control
  • movement preparation
  • visual feedback
  • WHITE-MATTER INTEGRITY
  • DIFFUSE AXONAL INJURY
  • WORKING-MEMORY LOAD
  • BIMANUAL COORDINATION
  • CORPUS-CALLOSUM
  • BEHAVIOR RELATIONSHIPS
  • PREFRONTAL CORTEX
  • MOTOR-PERFORMANCE
  • COGNITIVE CONTROL
  • POSTURAL CONTROL

Cite this

Gooijers, J., Beets, I. A. M., Albouy, G., Beeckmans, K., Michiels, K., Sunaert, S., & Swinnen, S. P. (2016). Movement preparation and execution: differential functional activation patterns after traumatic brain injury. Brain, 139(9), 2469-2485. https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/aww177