Published on October 15, 2020 | Updated on October 15, 2020

CORTEX Conference by James Bonaiuto

October 30th at 11am

Mechanisms and functional role of sensorimotor beta bursts

Motor cortical activity in the beta frequency range (13-30Hz) is a hallmark signature of healthy and pathological movement, but its behavioral relevance remains unclear. Recently, it has become apparent that rather than sustained oscillations, beta activity often occurs in discrete, transient bursts. The prevailing computational model of beta burst generation suggests that such bursts are produced by distinct inputs to deep and superficial cortical layers. The rich temporal and spatial structure of beta bursts provides an opportunity to more precisely probe the relationship between motor cortical activity and behavior, however this is tempered by a lack of understanding of the mechanisms underlying the generation of sensorimotor beta bursts and their functional role in motor behavior. Using high-precision magnetoencephalography (MEG), we recently provided evidence that lamina-specific inputs do generate beta bursts, and that beta burst timing is a stronger predictor of single trial behaviour than beta burst rate or single trial beta amplitude. These results demonstrate the possibility for determining laminar specificity of dynamic neural signals in non-invasive recordings, and indicate that beta activity may have a more active, information-encoding role than previously thought.