Motor imagery vividness and symptom severity in Parkinson's disease

Readman, Megan and Crawford, Trevor and Linkenauger, Sally and Bek, Judith and Poliakoff, Ellen (2022) Motor imagery vividness and symptom severity in Parkinson's disease. Journal of Neuropsychology. ISSN 1748-6653

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Motor imagery (MI), the mental rehearsal of an action in the absence of overt motor output, has demonstrated potential as a technique for promoting the recovery of motor functioning in neurological conditions characterised by motor disturbances, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the utility of this rehabilitation technique is contingent upon the preservation of MI. Existing evidence suggests that MI is largely preserved in PD. However, previous studies typically analysed global MI measures, thereby overlooking the potential influence of individual differences in symptom presentation on MI. The present study investigated the influence of bradykinesia and tremor severity on MI vividness scores in 44 individuals with mild to moderate idiopathic Parkinson’s. First, test-retest reliability of the KVIQ was demonstrated in 19 participants over a longer time period than in previous studies. Linear mixed effects modelling revealed that imagery modality and the severity of left-body bradykinesia significantly influenced MI vividness ratings. Consistent with previous findings, participants rated visual imagery (VMI) to be more vivid than kinesthetic imagery (KMI). Greater severity of left-side bradykinesia predicted increased vividness of KMI but not VMI, while tremor severity and overall motor symptom severity did not predict either KMI or VMI. These findings may reflect the differential neurophysiology of tremor and bradykinesia. Furthermore, the specificity of the effect to the left-side may reflect enhanced baseline vividness of KMI for the dominant (right) body-side, or increased attention to more effortful left-body movements resulting in enhanced vividness of MI.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Neuropsychology
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14 Oct 2022 10:30
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 11:57