During neurological rehabilitation following a stroke or brain injury patients may retrain the motor system using a robotic device in which they interact with a visual feedback display. Recent evidence indicates that enhancing errors may facilitate rehabilitation, and error feedback can be enhanced through visual feedback. Our long-range goal is to develop a basic understanding of how the central nervous system processes visual information during motor control, and apply this information to facilitate brain activation during neurological rehabilitation. As the first step, the objective of this four year proposal will determine how temporal and spatial features of motion stimuli differentially modulate the neuronal activation and topography of the visuomotor, visual, and motor systems within the human brain. This proposal will implement carefully- constructed motor psychophysics paradigms that we have previously established behaviorally to manipulate temporal and spatial dimensions of visual motion stimuli. At the same time, we will measure human grip force, eye movements, and brain activation using state-of-the art BOLD fMRI. Our central hypothesis is that the human visuomotor system processes temporal and spatial properties of motion stimuli through topographically organized neural mechanisms in the parietal cortex, premotor cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum.
The specific aims are: 1) To determine how the temporal features of motion stimuli are processed in the brain; 2) To determine how the spatial features of motion stimuli are processed in the brain; and 3) To determine the topographic organization and integration for temporal and spatial properties of visual motion in the brain. The innovation of this proposal is that we will provide the first comprehensive examination of the neural mechanisms of the visuomotor and motor system related to temporal and spatial features of motion stimuli. This outcome will extend what is known about the motion processing stream beyond visual cortex to regions that control movement. Furthermore, the outcome of this study will provide basic insights into how brain activation can be enhanced with visual feedback that may prove important for designing visual feedback displays used during neurological rehabilitation following stroke and brain injury.
This research study uses brain imaging technology to show that different parameters of visual information can facilitate brain activation in regions of the brain that control movement. This is the first step toward our long-term goal of using patient-specific visual feedback displays during neurological rehabilitation to facilitate brain activation and maximize recovery of function.
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