Cortical control of coordinated arm and leg movements
Movements that involve simultaneous coordination of muscles in the upper and lower limbs form a large part of our daily activities. In normal healthy individuals this coordination happens automatically and we are seldom aware of the small adjustments the brain makes when we suddenly change the body’s centre of gravity.
A good example is when we try to open a door. This movement requires that we start the movement by activating muscles on the backside of the legs in order to counteract the change in centre of gravity produced by the arms. If we fail to do this we would pull ourselves forward rather than open the door.
This pattern of muscle activity is often referred to as anticipatory postural control. The ability to produce correct anticipatory postural reactions is fully developed presumably during early puberty. Children with cerebral palsy however have great difficulties in coordinating everyday movements and especially anticipatory movements.
It is therefore the purpose of this Ph.D project to:
Investigate how the brain coordinates these anticipatory postural reactions in healthy subjects. We are especially interested in coupling in activity between different cortical areas and between the cortex and the muscles in the arms and legs.
Investigate how the coupling in activity between these areas are shaped and modified when normal healthy subjects learns a novel motor skill that requires coordination between the arms and legs
Finally are we interested in whether balance training leads to improvements in the anticipatory postural control in children with cerebral palsy.
Parts of the study are done in collaboration with the Helene Elsass Center for more information please go to www.elsasscenter.dk
Head of project: Tue Hvass Petersen
Supervisor: Jens Bo Nielsen