The aim of my research is to understand structure-function relationships within the central nervous system and the upper extremity. In particular, my research is focused on determining how grasping forces and torques are controlled and coordinated during functional dexterous manipulations. Investigation of movement patterns produced by different patient groups and healthy adults provides a window into the brain with respect to the control of voluntary movement. Our current studies work with Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients to determine the role of the basal ganglia in movement control. Recently, we have shown that unilateral deep brain stimulation provides long-term bilateral motor benefits. We are also evaluating the effects of assisted and voluntary exercise on PD motor function. These studies suggest that assisted exercise increases activation patterns within the brain. The objective and quantitative assessment of motor function will aid in disease diagnostic capability and specificity, disease progression and intervention efficacy for patients in which movement is compromised.
In other words ...
Our laboratory is focused on understanding how the brain controls skilled movements and how changes in brain function affect the movement performance. Our first step is to understand how diseases or conditions such as Parkinson's disease, stroke or concussion affect movement and thinking. Once we identify the specific problems associated with these conditions, we then develop and test interventions or ways of monitoring that are aimed at improving movement and cognitive performance. Our interventions range from deep brain stimulation (inserting an electrode in the brain) to exercise.
Admin Program Coordinator
Elise Baron B.S.
Project Manager III
A. Elizabeth Jansen B.A.
Project Manager II
Mandy Koop PhD
Susan Linder PT, DPT, MHS, NCS
Amanda Penko M.A.
David Schindler BS
Project Manager IV
Alberts, J.L., Voelcker-Rehage C., Hallahan, K., Vitek, M., Bamzai, R., and Vitek, J.L. (2008) Bilateral subthalamic stimulation impairs cognitive-motor performance in Parkinson’s disease patients. Brain, 131(12)3348-60.
Ridgel, A., Thota, A., Vitek, J.L. and Alberts, J.L. (2009) Forced, not voluntary, exercise improves motor function in Parkinson’s disease patients. Journal of Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, PMID: 19131578.
Mera, T.O., Johnson, M.D., Rothe, D., Zhang, J., Xu, W., Ghosh, D., Vitek, J.L., and Alberts, J.L. (2009) Quantifying Rigidity in MPTP-treated Primates. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 177(1):20-9.
Alberts, J.L., Hallahan, K., Thota, A., Noecker, A.M., Vitek, J.L. and McIntyre, C.M. Reducing cognitive-motor declines associated with bilateral subthalamic deep brain stimulation through computational modeling in a Parkinson’s patient. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.