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Aristotle's Illusion in Parkinson's Disease: Evidence for Normal Interdigit Tactile Perception.
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PLoS One 2014 ; 9(2):e88686
Authors: Mirta Fiorio, Angela Marotta, Sarah Ottaviani, Lara Pozzer, Michele Tinazzi
Sensory alterations, a common feature of such movement disorders as Parkinson's disease (PD) and dystonia, could emerge as epiphenomena of basal ganglia dysfunction. Recently, we found a selective reduction of tactile perception (Aristotle's illusion, the illusory doubling sensation of one object when touched with crossed fingers) in the affected hand of patients with focal hand dystonia. This suggests that reduced tactile illusion might be a specific feature of this type of dystonia and could be due to abnormal somatosensory cortical activation. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether Aristotle's illusion is reduced in the affected hand of patients with PD. We tested 15 PD patients, in whom motor symptoms were mainly localised to one side of the body, and 15 healthy controls. Three pairs of fingers were tested in crossed (evoking the illusion) or parallel position (not evoking the illusion). A sphere was placed in the contact point between the two fingers and the blindfolded participants had to say whether they felt one or two stimuli. Stimuli were applied on the affected and less or unaffected side of the PD patients. We found no difference in illusory perception between the PD patients and the controls, nor between the more affected and less/unaffected side, suggesting that Aristotle's illusion is preserved in PD. The retained tactile illusion in PD and its reduction in focal hand dystonia suggest that the basal ganglia, which are dysfunctional in both PD and dystonia, may not be causally involved in this function. Instead, the level of activation between digits in the somatosensory cortex may be more directly involved. Finally, the similar percentage of illusion in the more affected and less or unaffected body sides indicates that the illusory perception is not influenced by the presence or amount of motor symptoms.
PMID: 24523929 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]