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

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


Eleanor L. Barratt

Prejaas K. Tewarie

Margareta A. Clarke

Emma L. Hall

Peter G. Morris


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.


Barratt, E. L., Tewarie, P. K., Clarke, M. A., Hall, E. L., Gowland, P. A., Morris, P. G., …Brookes, M. J. (2017). Abnormal task driven neural oscillations in multiple sclerosis: a visuomotor MEG study. Human Brain Mapping, 38(5), 2441-2453.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 17, 2017
Online Publication Date Feb 27, 2017
Publication Date 2017-05
Deposit Date Feb 28, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 28, 2017
Journal Human Brain Mapping
Print ISSN 1065-9471
Electronic ISSN 1097-0193
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 5
Pages 2441-2453
Keywords multiple sclerosis; post-movement beta rebound; visual gamma; MEG; visuomotor abnormalities; neuronal oscillations
Public URL
Publisher URL


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