Article Index



Signatures of impaired inhibition in motor behavior in Parkinson's Disease 

Sonal Sengupta (Project 7)

The predominant model of basal ganglia-thalamo cortical dysfunction in PD explains the motor impairments as a result of over inhibition of motor cortex and brain stem circuits. However, there is evidence for increased excitability of motor cortex and abnormal motor behavior resulting from disinhibition. The main aim of the project is to address the effect of impaired inhibition in PD on the motor behavior of the patients. The manifestation of disinhibition in motor behavior will be investigated using the basic covenants of motor control and movement planning. The project will outline experiments in upper limb motor control/ reaching gait and eye movements.

Muscle mechanics and neural control in fine hand motor tasks in health and disease

Sigrid Dupan (Project 8)

Fine motor control of the hand influences daily activities as grasping, writing, or typing. Involuntary movement of the fingers that are not necessary for a certain task might therefore lead to inefficient movement or even interfere with the intended movement. While most human hand movement involves grasping, some require single finger movement. Motor control is characterized by simultaneous control of a large number of mechanical degrees of freedom. Peripheral and neural constraints may simplify the control for certain movements, but also enforce limitations on single finger mobility. The analysis of fine hand motor tasks in movement disorders might provide insight into the underlying mechanisms. Kinematic and EMG data allow the description of fine hand motor control in both health and disease. Hypotheses about central constraints will be tested by analyzing biophysical changes to cortical perturbations induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).