Research

  • Below is a list of current projects that can be encompasses under one of the major lab themes. Work conducted in the NAIL utilizes the full spectrum of transcranial magnetic stimulation(TMS) research techniques including single pulse, paired-pulse, and repetitive TMS.

     

    Theme 1: Characterization of cortical excitability in response to aging, injury, training and rehabilitation

     

    i) Do changes in primary motor cortex representation underlie impairments in anticipatory postural adjustments (APA) in older adults? (Jo Armour Smith)

    Aim: to examine the relationship between trunk and hip muscle representation and postural motor behavior

    1. Investigate muscle representation and APAs in young healthy adults and healthy older adults with and without a history of falls.
    2. Examine effect of motor-skill training on muscle representation and APAs in older adults with a impaired APAs

     

    ii) The role of motor cortical inhibition in maintaining balance: focus on aging (Tulika Nandi)

    Aim: to determine if there is a relationship between the excitability of GABAergic inhibitory interneurons and co-activationof lower limb muscles in standing

    1)    Is there a difference between short-interval cortical inhibition (SICI) using a paired-pulse TMS technique between the tibial is anterior, lateral gastrocnemius and soleus in relaxed standing?

    2)    Is there an association between SICI and co-activation index of the above muscles in relaxed standing?

    3)    Does this association differ between young and older adults?

     

    iii) Activation training alters cortico motor excitability of the gluteus maximus (GM) (Beth Fisher, Chris Powers)

    • To determine whether a short-term activation training program targeting gluteus maximus results in neuroplastic changes in primary motor cortex
    • We demonstrated an increase in corticomotor excitability and active inhibitory processes following short term activation training suggesting a more efficient GM corticospinal motor system with ability to modulate specific muscle action (paper in submission)

     

    Theme 2: Modulation of Cortical Function

    • Neural substrates of motor memory consolidation: A double dissociation of Primary motor cortex and Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex induced by practice structure (Kantak et al., 2010)
    • We demonstrated that practice structure influences the neural substrates that are involved in motor memory consolidation
      • Primary motor cortex is one of the necessary neural substrates for motor memory consolidation following constant practice
      • DLPFC is a part of the neural network necessary to motor memory consolidation following variable practice conditions

     

    Theme 3: Rehabilitation, utilizing TMS as an adjunct therapy

    • Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Modulate Cortical Excitability after Stroke
      • Aim: To improve paretic arm function by rebalancing interhemispheric inhibition with low frequency rTMS.

     

    Theme 4: The role of cortical excitatory and inhibitory circuitries in motor control

    • To investigate the influence of different percentages of MVICon identifying iSP in the abductor pollicis brevis
    • To determine the relationship between iSP and skill level in musicians