Parkinson's disease and the processing of haptic information
In an international collaboration with colleagues from the Italian Institute of Technology and the Department of Neurology at the University of Genoa, Italy we investigated how Parkinson's disease alters haptic perception. Our research suggests that the disease accelerates age-related decline in haptic perception by altering somatosensory integration -- a neural mechanism that combines sensory information from the many receptors of the skin and muscles. That is, perception as well as movement is affected by the disease. The results of the study appear in the journal Brain.
Brain changes associated with postural training in cerebellar patients
Jürgen Konczak, director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, is coauthor on a recent report on brain changes associated with postural training in patients with cerebellar degeneration. The project is part of an ongoing collaboration with a group of German neurologists from the University Medical Center in Essen and Kiel that investiges how well patients with damage to the cerebellum can restore function and respond to behavioral therapies. The report will be published in the JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE, a highly ranked publication in the field (impact factor: 8.66).
Effects of deep brain stimulation in Parkinson's disease on haptic perception
Haptic perception relates to one's ability to perceive properties of objects through active touch. For example, one perceives the roundess of a cylinder while moving the hand around it. In everyday life, we use vision and haptics to find things out about the objects that we manipulate. In a new study we investigate to whether and to what extent haptic perception becomes impaired in Parkinson's disease(PD) and whether deep brain stimulation can restore haptic precision in PD patients. Contact the study coordinator Joshua Aman, if you want to participate or to find out more about the study.
Recruiting participants with voice disorders
As part of a project funded by the National Institutes of Health we are currently recruiting participants with two voice disorders: spasmodic dysphonia and muscle tension dysphonia. This project examines their body awareness, specifically the ability of patients to sense the position of their arm in space. We use a specialized equipment, a passive motion apparatus, that very slowly rotates the forearm (see the photo to your right). This is a non-invasive study. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Joshua Aman at 612-625-3313 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.