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Background: There is increasing evidence for functional interactions of the auditory and the motor system in music perception. Based on that we hypothesized that altered music perception in patients with a movement disorder, here Huntington's disease (HD), compared to controls should be present. Additionally, there should be also a relation between areas associated with the assessment of musical rhythms and measures of movement deterioration in patients.Methods: Manifest (HD) and premanifest HD (pHD), as well as healthy controls underwent an examination with auditory functional MRI (fMRI) with presentation of music and syllables as stimuli. Additionally, motor performance was assessed in tasks with different complexity and related to fMRI-data.Results: There was a significant interaction of type of stimuli (music, syllables) and group (HD, phD, controls). During music processing when compared to blocks with syllables only, HDs revealed hyperactivations, especially in cerebellar structures,. In contrast, these structures were stronger activated during syllable presentation in pHD´s and controls, when compared to HD and music processing. Increased cerebellar activations during music processing in HDs were related to more severe voluntary and involuntary movement dysfunction. No correlations were observed with activations after syllable presentation. Generally, no relations were found in pHDs.Conclusion: The results suggest modulation of auditory music processing in a movement disorder, which seems to relate to severity of movement deterioration.


Christian Beste, Anne Schüttke, Bettina Pfleiderer, Carsten Saft. Music perception and movement deterioration in Huntington's disease. PLoS currents. 2011;3:RRN1252

PMID: 21938274

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