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Knowledge of the effect of performance frequency on activation of motor areas in positron emission tomography (PET) studies is crucial to the interpretation of experiments in which performance is a variable. We studied this effect in six normal right-handed volunteers using H2(15)O PET to measure regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF). Subjects were scanned at rest and while executing joystick movements with the right hand in freely chosen directions at different frequencies. Significant frequency dependent increases in rCBF were demonstrated in contralateral sensorimotor cortex, lateral premotor cortex bilaterally, posterior supplementary motor area (SMA), and ipsilateral cerebellar hemisphere and vermis. The striatum and the right dorsal prefrontal cortex were also activated by joystick movement compared with rest, but the magnitude of activation found in these areas was independent of the frequency of movement. The results suggest that primary motor cortex, posterior SMA, lateral premotor cortex and cerebellum are involved in determining the basic parameters of movement. Frequency dependent activation in these areas suggests phasic activity related to movement. In contrast, activation of the dorsal prefrontal cortex and the striatum is not frequency dependent. This may reflect continuous rather than phasic activity in these areas during the task and suggests their role is not simply related to movement execution but higher level during this free selection joystick task.


Journal article


J Neurol Sci

Publication Date





195 - 205


Adult, Brain, Cerebrovascular Circulation, Data Interpretation, Statistical, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Movement, Psychomotor Performance, Tomography, Emission-Computed