Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity

Heverlee, Belgium

Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity

Heverlee, Belgium
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Zhang X.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | de Beukelaar T.T.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Possel J.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Olaerts M.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2011

Practicing a motor task can induce neuroplastic changes in the human primary motor cortex (M1) that are subsequently consolidated, leading to a stable memory trace. Currently, little is known whether early consolidation, tested several minutes after skill acquisition, can be improved by behavioral interventions. Here we test whether movement observation, known to evoke similar neural responses inM1as movement execution, can benefit the early consolidation of new motor memories.Weshow that observing the same type of movement as that previously practiced (congruent movement stimuli) substantially improves performance on a retention test 30 min after training compared with observing either an incongruent movement type or control stimuli not showing biological motion. Differences in retention following observation of congruent, incongruent, and control stimuli were not found when observed 24 h after initial training and neural evidence further confirmed that, unlike motor practice, movement observation alone did not induce plastic changes in the motor cortex. This time-specific effect is critical to conclude that movement observation of congruent stimuli interacts with training-induced neuroplasticity and enhances early consolidation of motor memories. Our findings are not only of theoretical relevance for memory research, but also have great potential for application in clinical settings when neuroplasticity needs to be maximized. © 2011 the authors.


Boisgontier M.P.,CNRS Complex Medical Engineering Laboratory | Boisgontier M.P.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Nougier V.,CNRS Complex Medical Engineering Laboratory
Neuroscience Letters | Year: 2013

The present study focused on assessing whether the effects of muscle fatigue on joint position sense are dependent upon the unilateral or bilateral nature of proprioceptive inputs. To this aim, a group of young adults performed an active contralateral concurrent ankle matching task in two conditions of support of the reference limb (active vs. passive) and two conditions of fatigue of the indicator limb (no fatigue vs. fatigue). In the absence of muscle fatigue, results failed to evidence significant difference of matching errors between the active and passive conditions of support. However, in the context of muscle fatigue, increased matching errors were observed in active but not passive condition of support. The deleterious effects of muscle fatigue on joint position sense were therefore dependent upon the laterality of the proprioceptive inputs related to muscle contraction. These results suggested that sensory weighting for proprioception gives priority to inputs available bilaterally over the ones available in a single limb only. © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


Heitger M.H.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Ronsse R.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Ronsse R.,Catholic University of Louvain | Dhollander T.,University Hospital Gasthuisberg | And 4 more authors.
NeuroImage | Year: 2012

Complex bimanual motor learning causes specific changes in activation across brain regions. However, there is little information on how motor learning changes the functional connectivity between these regions, and whether this is influenced by different sensory feedback modalities. We applied graph-theoretical network analysis (GTNA) to examine functional networks based on motor-task-related fMRI activations. Two groups learned a complex 90° out-of-phase bimanual coordination pattern, receiving either visual or auditory feedback. 3. T fMRI scanning occurred before (day 0) and after (day 5) training. In both groups, improved motor performance coincided with increased functional network connectivity (increased clustering coefficients, higher number of network connections and increased connection strength, and shorter communication distances). Day. ×. feedback interactions were absent but, when examining network metrics across all examined brain regions, the visual group had a marginally better connectivity, higher connection strength, and more direct communication pathways. Removal of feedback had no acute effect on the functional connectivity of the trained networks. Hub analyses showed an importance of specific brain regions not apparent in the standard fMRI analyses. These findings indicate that GTNA can make unique contributions to the examination of functional brain connectivity in motor learning. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Van Den Berg F.E.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Swinnen S.P.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Wenderoth N.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity
Cerebral Cortex | Year: 2010

The premotor cortex (PMC) is functionally lateralized, such that the left PMC is activated for unimanual movements of either hand, whereas the right PMC is particularly active during complex bimanual movements. Here we ask the question whether the high activation of right PMC in the bimanual context reflects either hemispheric specialization or handedness. Left-and right-handed subjects performed a bimanual antiphase tapping task at different frequencies while transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was used to temporarily disrupt left versus right PMC during complex bimanual movements. For both handedness groups, more disruptions were induced when TMS was applied over the motor nondominant PMC than over the motor dominant PMC or when sham-TMS was used. In a second experiment, right-handers performed complex unimanual tapping with either hand, while TMS was applied to the PMC in both hemispheres. The novel result was that the high susceptibility of the motor nondominant PMC was specific to the bimanual context, indicating that hemispheric asymmetries of the PMC depend on the bimanual versus unimanual nature of the motor task. We hypothesize that asymmetries of PMC involvement in bimanual control reflect interhemispheric interactions, whereby the motor nondominant PMC appears to prevent motor cross talk arising from the dominant hemisphere. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


van den Berg F.E.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Swinnen S.P.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Wenderoth N.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience | Year: 2011

Unimanual motor tasks, specifically movements that are complex or require high forces, activate not only the contralateral primary motor cortex (M1) but evoke also ipsilateral M1 activity. This involvement of ipsilateral M1 is asymmetric, such that the left M1 is more involved in motor control with the left hand than the right M1 in movements with the right hand. This suggests that the left hemisphere is specialized for movement control of either hand, although previous experiments tested mostly right-handed participants. In contrast, research on hemispheric asymmetries of ipsilateral M1 involvement in left-handed participants is relatively scarce. In the present study, left- and right-handed participants performed complex unimanual movements, whereas TMS was used to disrupt the activity of ipsilateral M1 in accordance with a "virtual lesion" approach. For right-handed participants, more disruptions were induced when TMS was applied over the dominant (left) M1. For left-handed participants, two subgroups could be distinguished, such that one group showed more disruptions when TMS was applied over the nondominant (left) M1, whereas the other subgroup showed more disruptions when the dominant (right) M1 was stimulated. This indicates that functional asymmetries of M1 involvement during ipsilateral movements are influenced by both hand dominance as well as left hemisphere specialization. We propose that the functional asymmetries in ipsilateral M1 involvement during unimanual movements are primarily attributable to asymmetries in the higher-order areas, although the contribution of transcallosal pathways and ipsilateral projections cannot be completely ruled out. © 2011 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Bruijn S.M.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Bruijn S.M.,Fujian Medical University | Meijer O.G.,VU University Amsterdam | Meijer O.G.,Fujian Medical University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of the Royal Society Interface | Year: 2013

Falling poses a major threat to the steadily growing population of the elderly in modern-day society. A major challenge in the prevention of falls is the identification of individuals who are at risk of falling owing to an unstable gait. At present, several methods are available for estimating gait stability, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this paper, we review the currently available measures: the maximum Lyapunov exponent (lS and lL), the maximum Floquet multiplier, variability measures, long-range correlations, extrapolated centre of mass, stabilizing and destabilizing forces, foot placement estimator, gait sensitivity norm and maximum allowable - perturbation. We explain what these measures represent and how they are calculated, andwe assess their validity, divided up into construct validity, predictive validity in simple models, convergent validity in experimental studies, and predictive validity in observational studies. We conclude that (i) the validity of variability measures and lS is best supported across all levels, (ii) the maximum Floquet multiplier and lL have good construct validity, but negative predictive validity in models, negative convergent validity and (for lL) negative predictive validity in observational studies, (iii) long-range correlations lack construct validity and predictive validity inmodels and have negative convergent validity, and (iv) measures derived from perturbation experiments have good construct validity, but data are lacking on convergent validity in experimental studies and predictive validity in observational studies. In closing, directions for future research on dynamic gait stability are discussed. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


Bruijn S.M.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Bruijn S.M.,Fujian Medical University | Van Impe A.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Duysens J.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Swinnen S.P.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity
Journal of Neurophysiology | Year: 2012

Human walking is highly adaptable, which allows us to walk under different circumstances. With aging, the probability of falling increases, which may partially be due to a decreased ability of older adults to adapt the gait pattern to the needs of the environment. The literature on visuomotor adaptations during reaching suggests, however, that older adults have little problems in adapting their motor behavior. Nevertheless, it may be that adaptation during a more complex task like gait is compromised by aging. In this study, we investigated the ability of young (n = 8) and older (n = 12) adults to adapt their gait pattern to novel constraints with a split-belt paradigm. Findings revealed that older adults adapted less and more slowly to split-belt walking and showed fewer aftereffects than young adults. While young adults showed a fast adjustment of the relative time spent in swing for each leg older adults failed to do so, but instead they were very fast in manipulating swing speed differences between the two legs. We suggest that these changes in adaptability of gait due to aging stem from a mild degradation of cortico-cerebellar pathways (reduced adaptability) and cerebral structures (decreased ability to change gait cycle timing). However, an alternative interpretation may be that the observed reduced adaptation is a compensatory strategy in view of the instability induced by the split-belt paradigm. © 2012 the American Physiological Society.


Meesen R.L.,Hasselt University | Meesen R.L.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Cuypers K.,Hasselt University | Rothwell J.C.,University College London | And 2 more authors.
Human Brain Mapping | Year: 2011

The long-term effect of daily somatosensory stimulation with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) on reorganization of the motor cortex was investigated in a group of neurologically intact humans. The scalp representation of the corticospinal projection to the finger (APB, ADM) and forearm (FCR, ECR) muscles was mapped by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) before and after a 3-week intervention period, using map area and volume, and topographical overlaps between the cortical motor representations of these muscles as primary dependent measures. Findings revealed a significant increase in cortical motor representation of all four muscles for the TENS group from pre to posttest (all, P ≤ 0.026). No significant changes in cortical motor representations were observed in the control group. The present observations highlight the potential benefit of sensory training by means of TENS as a useful complementary therapy in neurorehabilitation. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Reijmer Y.D.,University Utrecht | Leemans A.,University Utrecht | Caeyenberghs K.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Heringa S.M.,University Utrecht | And 2 more authors.
Neurology | Year: 2013

Objective: To examine the relation between measures of whole-brain white matter connectivity and cognitive performance in patients with early Alzheimer disease (AD) using a network-based approach and to assess whether network parameters provide information that is complementary to conventional MRI markers of AD. Methods: Fifty patients (mean age 78.8 ± 7.1 years) with early AD were recruited via a memory clinic. In addition, 15 age-, sex-, and education-matched control participants were used as a reference group. All participants underwent a 3-T MRI scan and cognitive assessment. Diffusion tensor imaging-based tractography was used to reconstruct the brain network of each individual, followed by graph theoretical analyses. Overall network efficiency was assessed by measures of local (clustering coefficient, local efficiency) and global (path length, global efficiency) connectivity. Age-, sex-, and education-adjusted cognitive scores were related to network measures and to conventional MRI parameters (i.e., degree of cerebral atrophy and small-vessel disease). Results: The structural brain network of patients showed reduced local efficiency compared to controls. Within the patient group, worse performance in memory and executive functioning was related to decreased local efficiency (r = 0.434; p = 0.002), increased path length (r = 20.538; p < 0.001), and decreased global efficiency (r = 0.431; p = 0.005). Measures of network efficiency explained up to 27% of the variance in cognitive functioning on top of conventional MRI markers (p < 0.01). Conclusion: This study shows that network-based analysis of brain white matter connections provides a novel way to reveal the structural basis of cognitive dysfunction in AD. © 2013 American Academy of Neurology.


Heuninckx S.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Wenderoth N.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity | Swinnen S.P.,Research Center for Movement Control and Neuroplasticity
Neurobiology of Aging | Year: 2010

Age-related differences in regional brain activation during two different movement generation modes were examined. Old and young volunteers were scanned while performing cyclical hand-foot flexion-extension movements in the presence and the absence of augmented visual feedback, referring to external and internal movements generation, respectively. Performing the coordination task under both conditions resulted in the activation of two distinct neural networks in the young adults, i.e., the hMT/V5+, and parietal and premotor cortices were typically involved during the visually guided mode, whereas the supplementary motor area (SMA), cingulate motor area (CMA), frontal operculum (FO) and secondary somatosensory area (S2) were typically involved during internally guided movements. Remarkably, much less differentiation between both feedback dependent networks was observed in the seniors, i.e., they exhibited high activity in the SMA, CMA, FO and S2 during both modes, suggesting that the typical network differentiation was largely diminished. This is hypothesized to reflect a general increase in processing resources within areas contributing to motor control and associated sensory processing, supporting motor performance in the elderly. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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