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The functional neuroanatomy of simple and complex sequential finger movements: a PET study.

M J Catalan, M Honda, R A Weeks, L G Cohen, M Hallett
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/121.2.253 253-264 First published online: 1 February 1998


The brain regions activated by simple repetitive and sequential finger movements of different length were localized by measuring regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) with PET. The experimental design consisted of finger movements cued by auditory pacing at 0.5 Hz. In all conditions of different sequence length the contralateral primary sensorimotor and premotor cortex, supplementary motor area and ipsilateral cerebellar cortex were activated. These areas showed a large increase in activation from rest to simple repetitive movement, and a further increase with the shortest sequence, suggesting an executive role in running sequences. The ipsilateral premotor area (Brodmann area 6), bilateral posterior parietal areas (Brodmann area 7) and precuneus showed an increase in rCBF related only to the length of the sequences, without any change from rest to simple repetitive movement. These areas are more selectively related to sequence performance. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that these areas function in the storage of motor sequences in spatial working memory. Our results suggest that sequential finger movements recruit discrete sets of brain areas with different functions.