Electrophysiology is a technique that allows us to measure voltage and electric current in cells throughout the body. Electrophysiology can give us important information about the activity of a single cell or large groups of cells (i.e., areas of the brain).
We primarily use two forms of electrophysiology for research purposes:
1) electroencephalography (EEG), which measures brain activity; and
2) electromyography (EMG), which measures muscle activity.
Both of these techniques are not invasive for the subject and do not have any side effects. For EEG, subjects have electrodes placed on their scalp and for EMG, subjects have electrodes place on the skin over their muscles.
We are currently using EEG and EMG to measure how the brain and leg muscles communicate during exercise in Parkinson’s disease. This study involves gathering information on brain and muscle activity during 30 minutes of stationary cycling at various intensity levels. We are also comparing the brain-muscle interaction in subjects without Parkinson’s disease so that we can understand how exercise and movement may be different in Parkinson’s disease.