Lesions causing freezing of gait are located within a common functional network characterized by connectivity to the cerebellar locomotor region, a recent study found. 14 cases of lesion-induced freezing of gait were identified from medical literature, and lesions were mapped to a common brain atlas. Since lesion-induced symptoms can come from sites connected to the lesion location, not just the lesion location itself, researchers also identified brain regions functionally connected to each lesion location. They found:
- Lesion location was heterogeneous, and no single region could be considered necessary for symptom generation.
- However, > 90% (13 of 14) of lesions were functionally connected to a focal area in the dorsal medial cerebellum.
- This cerebellar area overlapped previously recognized regions that are activated by locomotor tasks, termed the cerebellar locomotor region.
- Connectivity to this region was specific to lesions causing freezing of gait compared to lesions causing other movement disorders (hemichorea or asterixis).
Fasano A, Laganiere SE, Lan S, Fox MD. Lesions causing freezing of gait localize to a cerebellar functional network. [Published online ahead of print January 24, 2017]. Ann Neurol. doi:10.1002/ana.24845.