Parkinson’s disease patients show delayed hemodynamic changes in primary motor cortex in fine motor tasks and decreased resting-state interhemispheric functional connectivity: a functional near-infrared spectroscopy study


Significance People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) experience changes in fine motor skills, which is viewed as one of the hallmark signs of this disease. Due to its non-invasive nature and portability, functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a promising tool for assessing changes related to fine motor skills. Aim We aim to compare activation patterns in the primary motor cortex using fNIRS, comparing volunteers with PD and sex- and age-matched control participants during a fine motor task and walking. Moreover, inter and intrahemispheric functional connectivity (FC) was investigated during the resting state. Approach We used fNIRS to measure the hemodynamic changes in the primary motor cortex elicited by a finger-tapping task in 20 PD patients and 20 controls matched for age, sex, education, and body mass index. In addition, a two-minute walking task was carried out. Resting-state FC was also assessed. Results Patients with PD showed delayed hypoactivation in the motor cortex during the fine motor task with the dominant hand and delayed hyperactivation with the non-dominant hand. The findings also revealed significant correlations among various measures of hemodynamic activity in the motor cortex using fNIRS and different cognitive and clinical variables. There were no significant differences between patients with PD and controls during the walking task. However, there were significant differences in interhemispheric connectivity between PD patients and control participants, with a statistically significant decrease in PD patients compared with control participants.