Atrophic degeneration of cerebellum impairs both the reactive and the proactive control of movement in the stop signal paradigm
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The cognitive control of movement suppression, including performance monitoring, is one of the core properties of the executive system. A complex cortical and subcortical network involving cerebral cortex, thalamus, subthalamus, and basal ganglia has been regarded as the neural substrate of inhibition of programmed movements. Using the countermanding task, a suitable tool to explore behavioral components of movement suppression, the contribution of the cerebellum in the proactive control and monitoring of voluntary action has been recently described in patients affected by focal lesions involving in particular the cerebellar dentate nucleus. Here, we evaluated the performance on the countermanding task in a group of patients with cerebellar degeneration, in which the cerebellar cortex was diffusely affected, and showed that they display additionally a longer latency in countermanding engaged movements. Overall, the present data confirm the role of the cerebellum in executive control of action inhibition by extending the contribution to reactive motor suppression.
KeywordsInhibition Cortical cerebellar degeneration Stop signal reaction time Movement generation Basal ganglia
This study was supported by the Sapienza University grants (to SF and to ML, in part), Ministry of Health (Grant Number RF-2011-02348213) to MM and (Grant Number GR-2013-02354888) to SC.
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