Impaired corticomuscular and interhemispheric cortical beta oscillation coupling in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Malcolm Proudfoot, Freek van Ede, Andrew Quinn, Giles L. Colclough, Joanne Wuu, Kevin Talbot, Michael Benatar, Mark W. Woolrich, Anna C. Nobre*, Martin R. Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: The neural activity of the primary motor cortex is variably synchronised with contralateral peripheral electromyographic signals, which is thought to facilitate long-range communication through the motor system. Such corticomuscular coherence (CMC) is typically observed in the beta-band (15–30 Hz) range during steady force production. We aimed to measure pathological alteration to CMC resulting from ALS. Methods: CMC was appraised during a forearm grip task in 17 ALS patients contrasted against age-matched healthy controls. An exploratory comparison with a group of asymptomatic ALS gene carriers and neuropathy disease mimics was also undertaken. Neural signals were acquired by whole-head magnetoencephalography and localised via structural MRI to the motor cortices. Results: During light voluntary muscular contraction, beta-band CMC was significantly reduced in ALS patients compared to healthy controls. Propagation of motoric beta rhythms across the cortical hemispheres was also shown to be impaired in ALS patients. CMC was preserved in the asymptomatic gene carrier and did not distinguish ALS patients from neuropathy mimics. Conclusion: Functional connectivity metrics reveal an ALS-related decrease in both corticomuscular and interhemispheric communication during bilateral grip force production. Significance: MEG-derived beta oscillation coupling may be a potential biomarker of motor system dysfunction in ALS, against which to measure future therapeutic efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1479-1489
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • ALS
  • Biomarker
  • Coherence
  • MEG


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