A Reticulothalamic System Mediating Proprioceptive Attention and Tremor in Man

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Abstract

This report describes the electrophysiological characteristics of thalamic and subthalamic targets used to control tremor. In these targets exploratory electrodes recorded one or more of the following events. Electrical stimulation produced enhancement of tremor or other complex motor responses. Somatic evoked potentials (SEPs) induced by proprioceptive stimulation showed only late components, the amplitudes of which changed in various attentive situations. Multiunit activity showed spontaneous 3- to 6-Hz rhythmic bursts. And a lesion produced neglect of contralateral extremities and an ipsilateral decrease of scalp-recorded SEP late components. In contrast, in the areas located immediately posterior and dorsal, electrical stimulation produced contralateral paresthesias. Early components of SEPs could be recorded, as were rhythmic bursts of multiunit activity after the occurrence of peripheral tremor. Lesions produced sensory deficits in the contralateral extremities and ipsilateral blocking of all components of scalp SEPs. The latter areas are identified as the lemniscal system, but the former seem to be extralemniscal. Their electrophysiological characteristics suggest that they are probably involved in the process of selective attention and motor control

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