Evolving concepts on bradykinesia

Matteo Bologna, Giulia Paparella, Alfonso Fasano, Mark Hallett, Alfredo Berardelli

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Bradykinesia is one of the cardinal motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease and other parkinsonisms. The various clinical aspects related to bradykinesia and the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying bradykinesia are, however, still unclear. In this article, we review clinical and experimental studies on bradykinesia performed in patients with Parkinson's disease and atypical parkinsonism. We also review studies on animal experiments dealing with pathophysiological aspects of the parkinsonian state. In Parkinson's disease, bradykinesia is characterized by slowness, the reduced amplitude of movement, and sequence effect. These features are also present in atypical parkinsonisms, but the sequence effect is not common. Levodopa therapy improves bradykinesia, but treatment variably affects the bradykinesia features and does not significantly modify the sequence effect. Findings from animal and patients demonstrate the role of the basal ganglia and other interconnected structures, such as the primary motor cortex and cerebellum, as well as the contribution of abnormal sensorimotor processing. Bradykinesia should be interpreted as arising from network dysfunction. A better understanding of bradykinesia pathophysiology will serve as the new starting point for clinical and experimental purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-750
JournalBrain : a journal of neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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