Developmental Trajectory of Beta Cortical Oscillatory Activity During a Knee Motor Task

Max J. Kurz, Amy L. Proskovec, James E. Gehringer, Katherine M. Becker, David J. Arpin, Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Tony W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


There is currently a void in the scientific literature on the cortical beta oscillatory activity that is associated with the production of leg motor actions. In addition, we have limited data on how these cortical oscillations may progressively change as a function of development. This study began to fill this vast knowledge gap by using high-density magnetoencephalography to quantify the beta cortical oscillatory activity over a cross-section of typically developing children as they performed an isometric knee target matching task. Advanced beamforming methods were used to identify the spatiotemporal changes in beta oscillatory activity during the motor planning and motor action time frames. Our results showed that a widespread beta event-related desynchronization (ERD) was present across the pre/postcentral gyri, supplementary motor area, and the parietal cortices during the motor planning stage. The strength of this beta ERD sharply diminished across this fronto-parietal network as the children initiated the isometric force needed to match the target. Rank order correlations indicated that the older children were more likely to initiate their force production sooner, took less time to match the targets, and tended to have a weaker beta ERD during the motor planning stage. Lastly, we determined that there was a relationship between the child’s age and the strength of the beta ERD within the parietal cortices during isometric force production. Altogether our results suggest that there are notable maturational changes during childhood and adolescence in beta cortical oscillatory activity that are associated with the planning and execution of leg motor actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-833
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Topography
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Leg
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Parietal
  • Sensorimotor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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