Connectivity of EEG synchronization networks increases for Parkinson’s disease patients with freezing of gait

Eitan E. Asher, Meir Plotnik, Moritz Günther, Shay Moshel, Orr Levy, Shlomo Havlin, Jan W. Kantelhardt, Ronny P. Bartsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Freezing of gait (FoG), a paroxysmal gait disturbance commonly experienced by patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), is characterized by sudden episodes of inability to generate effective forward stepping. Recent studies have shown an increase in beta frequency of local-field potentials in the basal-ganglia during FoG, however, comprehensive research on the synchronization between different brain locations and frequency bands in PD patients is scarce. Here, by developing tools based on network science and non-linear dynamics, we analyze synchronization networks of electroencephalography (EEG) brain waves of three PD patient groups with different FoG severity. We find higher EEG amplitude synchronization (stronger network links) between different brain locations as PD and FoG severity increase. These results are consistent across frequency bands (theta, alpha, beta, gamma) and independent of the specific motor task (walking, still standing, hand tapping) suggesting that an increase in severity of PD and FoG is associated with stronger EEG networks over a broad range of brain frequencies. This observation of a direct relationship of PD/FoG severity with overall EEG synchronization together with our proposed EEG synchronization network approach may be used for evaluating FoG propensity and help to gain further insight into PD and the pathophysiology leading to FoG.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1017
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


We thank the participants for their time and effort, and Mr. Or Koren for technical assistance and help with data analysis. This study was supported in part by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF-grant 1657-16), the German Israel Foundation (GIF-grants I-1298-415.13/2015 and I-1372-303.7/2016), and the Israel Ministry of Health (grant 3000-14527). M.G. acknowledges support from a Minerva Research Grant. S.H. acknowledges financial support from the Israel Science Foundation, the China-Israel Science Foundation, the ONR, the BIU Center for Research in Applied Cryptography and Cyber Security, the EU project RISE, the NSF-BSF Grant No. 2019740, and the DTRA Grant No. HDTRA-1-19-1-0016.

FundersFunder number
China-Israel Science Foundation
German Israel FoundationI-1372-303.7/2016, GIF-grants I-1298-415.13/2015
NSF-BSF2019740, HDTRA-1-19-1-0016
Office of Naval Research
European Commission
Israel Science FoundationISF-grant 1657-16
Ministry of Health, State of Israel3000-14527


    Dive into the research topics of 'Connectivity of EEG synchronization networks increases for Parkinson’s disease patients with freezing of gait'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this