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Aim

This investigation used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to examine the neural oscillatory responses of the sensorimotor cortices during the motor planning and movement execution stages of children with typical development and children with cerebral palsy (CP).

Method

The study involved 13 children with CP (nine males, four females; mean [SD] age 14y 3mo [9mo], range 10–18y; height 1.61m [0.08m]; weight 52.65kg [13kg]), and 13 age- and sex-matched typically developing children (height 1.64m [0.06m]; weight 56.88kg [10kg]). The experiment required the children to extend their knee joint as whole-head MEG recordings were acquired. Beamformer imaging methods were employed to quantify the source activity of the beta-frequency (14–28Hz) event-related desynchronization (ERD) that occurs during the motor planning period, and the gamma-frequency (~50Hz) event-related synchronization (ERS) that occurs at the motor execution stage.

Results

The children with CP had a stronger mean beta ERD during the motor planning phase and reduced mean gamma ERS at the onset of movement.

Interpretation

The uncharacteristic beta ERD in the children with CP suggests that they may have greater difficulty planning knee joint movements. We suggest that these aberrant beta ERD oscillations may have a cascading effect on the gamma ERS, which ultimately affects the execution of the motor command.