Cortical control of unilateral simple movement in healthy aging

Alberto Inuggi, Ninfa Amato, Giuseppe Magnani, Javier J. González-Rosa, Raffaella Chieffo, Giancarlo Comi, Letizia Leocani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Normal aging is associated with several modifications in the cerebral motor system that reflect into an increased and more bilateral activation in elderly subjects. Twelve young and nine elderly healthy right-handed subjects performed a self-initiated brisk right thumb extension while recorded with 32-channel EEG. The aging effect over cortical generators of bereithshaftspotential, reconstructed using cortical current density (CCD) method and a realistic volume conductor, was evaluated in five different periods and in both mesial and lateral motor-related areas. Over-activation occurred mainly at movement initiation in those areas related to simple movements (caudal mesial areas and both sensorimotor cortices) and in contralateral sensorimotor cortex during the post-movement phase. In those areas, the elderly group recruited a larger neuronal population than the young one in the presence of a significantly longer movement. This more likely suggests their reduced selectivity in activating the motor cortex than a compensatory mechanism to produce an optimum performance. Movement duration resulted negatively correlated with pre-SMA activity, suggesting its involvement in movement termination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-538
Number of pages15
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Aging effect
  • Bereithshaftspotentials
  • EEG
  • Source reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Ageing
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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