Altered cortical activation in ALS differs in motor and extra-motor regions
Blain C, Leigh P, Stanton B, Simmons A, Williams V
Institute of Psychiatry
There is evidence of altered cortical activation during motor tasks in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), but previous studies have failed to adequately control for weakness. 16 ALS patients, 9 patients with lower motor neurone syndromes (matched for upper limb weakness) and 17 controls performed a block design paradigm contrasting freely selected right hand movements against rest. ALS patients showed increased activation around the sensorimotor cortex, but reduced activation in pre-frontal regions compared to controls and LMN patients. We conclude that these changes are not simply an artefact of weakness, but relate specifically to upper motor neurone pathology in ALS.