J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 64:813-816 doi:10.1136/jnnp.64.6.813
  • Short report

An unusual enhancement of motor performance during bimanual movement in Parkinson’s disease

  1. Richard G Brown,
  2. Marjan Jahanshahi
  1. MRC Human Movement and Balance Unit, Institute of Neurology, University College, London
  1. Dr R Brown, MRC Human Movement and Balance Unit, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG. Telephone 0171 829 8759.
  • Received 16 September 1997
  • Revised 17 November 1997
  • Accepted 19 November 1997


In both clinical and laboratory tests, patients with Parkinson’s disease have considerable difficulty in performing different manual tasks simultaneously with the two hands. The present study reports on an unusual enhancement in performance under such conditions in a substantial proportion of patients tested. When performed at the same time as repetitive tapping tasks, the ability to rapidly place pegs in holes improved in almost half of the patients compared with unimanual performance of the peg task. Various possible explanations are considered for this unusual finding. The two most plausible, and testable, relate to either the withdrawal of attention from the task permitting a more automatic mode of execution, or a facilitation provided by sensory feedback from the simultaneous tapping task.


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