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Intact finger representation within primary sensorimotor cortex of musician’s dystonia

Sadnicka, Anna; Wiestler, Tobias; Butler, Katherine; Altenmuller, Eckart; Edwards, Mark J; Ejaz, Naveed; Diedrichsen, Jörn; (2023) Intact finger representation within primary sensorimotor cortex of musician’s dystonia. Brain , 146 (4) pp. 1511-1522. 10.1093/brain/awac356. Green open access

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Abstract

Musician’s dystonia presents with a persistent deterioration of motor control during musical performance. A predominant hypothesis has been that this is underpinned by maladaptive neural changes to the somatotopic organization of finger representations within primary somatosensory cortex. Here, we tested this hypothesis by investigating the finger-specific activity patterns in the primary somatosensory and motor cortex using functional MRI and multivariate pattern analysis in nine musicians with dystonia and nine healthy musicians. A purpose-built keyboard device allowed characterization of activity patterns elicited during passive extension and active finger presses of individual fingers. We analysed the data using both traditional spatial analysis and state-of-the art multivariate analyses. Our analysis reveals that digit representations in musicians were poorly captured by spatial analyses. An optimized spatial metric found clear somatotopy but no difference in the spatial geometry between fingers with dystonia. Representational similarity analysis was confirmed as a more reliable technique than all spatial metrics evaluated. Significantly, the dissimilarity architecture was equivalent for musicians with and without dystonia. No expansion or spatial shift of digit representation maps were found in the symptomatic group. Our results therefore indicate that the neural representation of generic finger maps in primary sensorimotor cortex is intact in musician’s dystonia. These results speak against the idea that task-specific dystonia is associated with a distorted hand somatotopy and lend weight to an alternative hypothesis that task-specific dystonia is due to a higher-order disruption of skill encoding. Such a formulation can better explain the task-specific deficit and offers alternative inroads for therapeutic interventions.

Type: Article
Title: Intact finger representation within primary sensorimotor cortex of musician’s dystonia
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/brain/awac356
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awac356
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com.
Keywords: Task-specific dystonia, focal hand dystonia, primary somatosensory cortex, primary motor cortex, representation, homunculus
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Gatsby Computational Neurosci Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10177266
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