An exploration of neural dynamics of motor imagery for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



Objective. Studies of the neuropathological effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) on the underlying motor system have investigated abnormalities in the magnitude and timing of the event-related desynchronization (ERD) and synchronization (ERS) during motor execution (ME). However, the spatio-spectral-temporal dynamics of these sensorimotor oscillations during motor imagery (MI) have not been fully explored for these patients. This study explores the neural dynamics of sensorimotor oscillations for ALS patients during MI by quantifying ERD/ERS features in frequency, time, and space. Approach. Electroencephalogram (EEG) data were recorded from six patients with ALS and 11 age-matched healthy controls (HC) while performing a MI task. ERD/ERS features were extracted using wavelet-based time-frequency analysis and compared between the two groups to quantify the abnormal neural dynamics of ALS in terms of both time and frequency. Topographic correlation analysis was conducted to compare the localization of MI activity between groups and to identify subject-specific frequencies in the µ and β frequency bands. Main results. Overall, reduced and delayed ERD was observed for ALS patients, particularly during right-hand MI. ERD features were also correlated with ALS clinical scores, specifically disease duration, bulbar, and cognitive functions. Significance. The analyses in this study quantify abnormalities in the magnitude and timing of sensorimotor oscillations for ALS patients during MI tasks. Our findings reveal notable differences between MI and existing results on ME in ALS. The observed alterations are speculated to reflect disruptions in the underlying cortical networks involved in MI functions. Quantifying the neural dynamics of MI plays an important role in the study of EEG-based cortical markers for ALS.

Publication Title

Journal of Neural Engineering