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Current Research Projects
Neural information transfer in the timing and stabilization of rhythmic movement
Cognitive processes involved in motor control might be understood through neural synchronization and entrainment. Although several research groups are studying the phenomenon of neural synchronization, its possible information content and, thus, its significance for cognitive functioning remain to be identified. Classical paradigms concerning the stability of bimanual coordination and more general correlation characteristics in rhythm production are being used to investigate neural information transfer both across cortical areas and between cortex and spinal cord. By studying neural activity via encephalographic and electromyographic recordings it is examined how coordinative stability is achieved by cortical synchronization and mediated by entrainment along the cortico-spinal track. Cognitive factors like the intention to move or the directedness of attention affect the stability of coordination and are perfectly suitable for disentangling changes in cortico-cortical and cortico-spinal synchronization. Supplemental functional brain imaging further help to decide whether spinal cord and moving limbs add to the production of timed (rhythmic) movements and to which degree brain components contribute to a central timekeeping.
– Sanne Houweling
– Alistair Vardy
– Bob van Dijk
–Erwin van Wegen
Dynamical networks of neural synchronization in human motor control
How do innumerable neurons combine their actions, enabling us to walk or to play the piano? Here, recent ideas from complex dynamics and network theory are combined to pinpoint functional interactions in the human brain during motor control.
– Bernadette van Wijk
– Kees Stam
Uncovering dynamic postural control through time-delayed visual feedback
The stochastic dynamics of postural control by means of time-delayed feedback is studied. Time-delayed feedback is an expedient method to uncover the dynamics of nonlinear systems with multiple time scales. Four experiments are aimed at (i) identifying the dynamical regimes governing quiet standing and sinusoidal swaying, (ii) identifying the corresponding time scales by differentiating frequencies in both performance and feedback, (iii) pinpointing destabilizing and stabilizing effects of noise, and (iv) detailing effects of selected neurological impairments (Parkinson’s disease, cerebellar lesions) on postural dynamics with time-delayed feedback. The experiments are accompanied by targeted modeling efforts building on previous theoretical work.
– Maarten van den Heuvel
– Ramesh Balasubramaniam
Classification of gait patterns
Proper classification of gait patterns can have profound implications for understanding and improving locomotion. Humans can easily recognise locomotory forms like running, cautious walking, shuffling or limping. Automatic recognition is difficult but a pre-requisite for an objective assessment of gait patterns. So far, measures like step length and frequency have been used for this purpose with limited success, presumably because they do not capture the dynamics of gait patterns. To break this deadlock, we will develop a classification system based on whole-body recordings using gait data of both (younger and older) healthy people and people suffering from specific neurological disorders.
– Claudine Lamoth