Short-term adaptation to a simple motor task: A physiological process preserved in multiple sclerosis

L. Mancini, O. Ciccarelli, F. Manfredonia, J. S. Thornton, F. Agosta, F. Barkhof, C. Beckmann, N. De Stefano, C. Enzinger, F. Fazekas, M. Filippi, A. Gass, J. G. Hirsch, H. Johansen-Berg, L. Kappos, T. Korteweg, S. C. Manson, S. Marino, P. M. Matthews, X. MontalbanJ. Palace, C. Polman, M. Rocca, S. Ropele, A. Rovira, C. Wegner, K. Friston, A. Thompson, T. Yousry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Short-term adaptation indicates the attenuation of the functional MRI (fMRI) response during repeated task execution. It is considered to be a physiological process, but it is unknown whether short-term adaptation changes significantly in patients with brain disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). In order to investigate short-term adaptation during a repeated right-hand tapping task in both controls and in patients with MS, we analyzed the fMRI data collected in a large cohort of controls and MS patients who were recruited into a multi-centre European fMRI study. Four fMRI runs were acquired for each of the 55 controls and 56 MS patients at baseline and 33 controls and 26 MS patients at 1-year follow-up. The externally cued (1 Hz) right hand tapping movement was limited to 3 cm amplitude by using at all sites (7 at baseline and 6 at follow-up) identically manufactured wooden frames. No significant differences in cerebral activation were found between sites. Furthermore, our results showed linear response adaptation (i.e. reduced activation) from run 1 to run 4 (over a 25 minute period) in the primary motor area (contralateral more than ipsilateral), in the supplementary motor area and in the primary sensory cortex, sensory-motor cortex and cerebellum, bilaterally. This linear activation decay was the same in both control and patient groups, did not change between baseline and 1-year follow-up and was not influenced by the modest disease progression observed over 1 year. These findings confirm that the short-term adaptation to a simple motor task is a physiological process which is preserved in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-511
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2009


  • Adaptation
  • fMRI
  • Hand movement
  • Multi-centre
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology

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    Mancini, L., Ciccarelli, O., Manfredonia, F., Thornton, J. S., Agosta, F., Barkhof, F., Beckmann, C., De Stefano, N., Enzinger, C., Fazekas, F., Filippi, M., Gass, A., Hirsch, J. G., Johansen-Berg, H., Kappos, L., Korteweg, T., Manson, S. C., Marino, S., Matthews, P. M., ... Yousry, T. (2009). Short-term adaptation to a simple motor task: A physiological process preserved in multiple sclerosis. NeuroImage, 45(2), 500-511.