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      The basal ganglia in perceptual timing: Timing performance in Multiple System Atrophy and Huntington's disease

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          Abstract

          The timing of perceptual events depends on an anatomically and functionally connected network comprising basal ganglia, cerebellum, pre-frontal cortex and supplementary motor area. Recent studies demonstrate the cerebellum to be involved in absolute, duration-based timing, but not in relative timing based on a regular beat. Conversely, functional involvement of the striatum is observed in relative timing, but its role in absolute timing is unclear.

          This work tests the specific role of the basal ganglia in the perceptual timing of auditory events. It aims to distinguish the hypothesised unified model of time perception ( Teki, Grube, & Griffiths, 2012), in which the striatum is a mandatory component for all timing tasks, from a modular system in which they subserve relative timing, with absolute timing processed by the cerebellum.

          Test groups comprised individuals with Multiple System Atrophy, a disorder in which similar pathology can produce clinical deficits associated with dysfunction of the cerebellum (MSA-C, n=8) or striatum (MSA-P, n=10), and early symptomatic Huntington's disease (HD, n=14). Individuals with chronic autoimmune peripheral neuropathy ( n=11) acted as controls.

          Six adaptive tasks were carried out to assess perceptual thresholds for absolute timing through duration discrimination for sub- and supra-second time intervals, and relative timing through the detection of beat-based regularity and irregularity, detection of a delay within an isochronous sequence, and the discrimination of sequences with metrical structure.

          All three patient groups exhibited impairments in performance in comparison with the control group for all tasks, and severity of impairment was significantly correlated with disease progression. No differences were demonstrated between MSA-C and MSA-P, and the most severe impairments were observed in those with HD.

          The data support an obligatory role for the basal ganglia in all tested timing tasks, both absolute and relative, as predicted by the unified model. The results are not compatible with models of a brain timing network based upon independent modules.

          Graphical abstract

          Ninety five percent confidence intervals for mean group performance by task. Var: sub-second variable-interval discrimination. Sup: supra-second variable-interval discrimination. Pul: detection of regularity (pulse or beat) within an irregular sequence. Iso: detection of deviation from isochrony. Irr: detection of irregularity within a regular sequence. Met: detection of distortion of a sequence with strong metrical structure.

          Highlights

          • Patients with basal ganglia disease undertook a battery of perceptual timing tasks.
          • All patients displayed poorer performance than neurological control participants.
          • Performance in Huntington's disease was worse than Multiple System Atrophy.
          • Poorer performance was significantly correlated with disease progression.
          • These findings support the hypothesised unified model of time perception.

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              Models for the analysis of longitudinal data must recognize the relationship between serial observations on the same unit. Multivariate models with general covariance structure are often difficult to apply to highly unbalanced data, whereas two-stage random-effects models can be used easily. In two-stage models, the probability distributions for the response vectors of different individuals belong to a single family, but some random-effects parameters vary across individuals, with a distribution specified at the second stage. A general family of models is discussed, which includes both growth models and repeated-measures models as special cases. A unified approach to fitting these models, based on a combination of empirical Bayes and maximum likelihood estimation of model parameters and using the EM algorithm, is discussed. Two examples are taken from a current epidemiological study of the health effects of air pollution.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Neuropsychologia
                Neuropsychologia
                Neuropsychologia
                Pergamon Press
                0028-3932
                1873-3514
                1 January 2014
                January 2014
                : 52
                : 100
                : 73-81
                Affiliations
                [a ]Auditory Group, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom
                [b ]Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom
                [c ]Walkergate Park Centre For Neurorehabilitation and Neuropsychiatry, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom
                [d ]Department of Clinical Neurosciences, School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge CB2 0SP
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 191 222 3445. thomascope@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                S0028-3932(13)00341-2
                10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.09.039
                3905186
                24135486
                © 2013 The Authors

                This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.

                Categories
                Article

                Neurology

                beat, multiple system atrophy, perceptual timing, huntington's disease, basal ganglia

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