Motor Control and Learning in Patients with a Dysfunction of the Cerebellum
The cerebellum is a brain region that is known to be involved in motor control and motor learning. It also plays a role in combining information from various sensory modalities (e.g., vision and proprioception) and integrating sensory information with motor commands.
Lesions of the cerebellum due to disease (e.g., a stroke or a tumor) often lead to a loss of movement coordination - a condition that is called ataxia.
We have been studying patients with various diseases affecting the cerebellum and investigated their ability to learn movements, to adapt to new force environments and to control their balance. We assessed their upper limb function and their body awareness (kinaesthesia).
In a long-term international collaboration with colleagues in Germany, we have investigated the course of recovery of theses patients and sought to discern what are critical determinants of their recovery. That is to say, what is the difference between a patient whorecovered well from injury or insult, and a patient with incomplete recovery. How does age, time-after-surgery or stroke, and the lesion site affect their recovery of balance and arm function.