Ataxia Research Laboratory

Santa Lucia di Serino, Italy

Ataxia Research Laboratory

Santa Lucia di Serino, Italy
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Olivito G.,Ataxia Research Laboratory | Olivito G.,IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation | Brunamonti E.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Clausi S.,Ataxia Research Laboratory | And 9 more authors.
Experimental Brain Research | Year: 2017

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. © 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany


Brunamonti E.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Chiricozzi F.R.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Chiricozzi F.R.,Ataxia Research Laboratory | Clausi S.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Executive control of motor responses is a psychological construct of the executive system. Several studies have demonstrated the involvement of the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, and thalamus in the inhibition of actions and monitoring of performance. The involvement of the cerebellum in cognitive function and its functional interaction with basal ganglia have recently been reported. Based on these findings, we examined the hypothesis of cerebellar involvement in executive control by administering a countermanding task in patients with focal cerebellar damage. The countermanding task requires one to make a movement in response to a 'go' signal and to halt it when a 'stop' signal is presented. The duration of the go process (reaction time; RT), the duration of the stop process (stop signal reaction time; SSRT), and their relationship, expressed by a psychometric function, are recorded as measures of executive control. All patients had longer go process duration in general and in particular, as a proactive control, as demonstrated by the increase in RT after erroneously performed stop trials. Further, they were defective in the slope of the psychometric function indicating a difficulty on triggering the stop process, although the SSRT did not differ from controls. Notably, their performance was worse when lesions affected deep cerebellar nuclei. Our results support the hypothesis that the cerebellum regulates the executive control of voluntary actions. We speculate that its activity is attributed to specific cerebellar influence over the cortico-striatal loop. © 2014 Brunamonti et al.

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