Motor control is the study of how the brain controls movements.
The aim is to understand how motor control varies across the lifespan of healthy participants and how movements are affected by disease or injury to the central and peripheral nervous system, as well as to explore ways we can improve motor control and functional movements with rehabilitation.
For enquiries or further information please contact email@example.com
Understanding movement and functional ability
Movements underpin everyday functional activities such as walking, reaching and manipulating objects. Our research investigates how movements are affected in children and adults with neurological conditions such as neuropathy, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and hereditary conditions. Understanding how neurological conditions affect movement help us to develop and refine interventions that aim to improve movement and functional ability.
We explore movement in healthy participants and people with peripheral and central neurological conditions using techniques such as whole body recordings during constrained and unconstrained movements, and simultaneous recordings of the electrical signals produced by the brain and muscles during movements. By selectively stimulating sensory channels, we can understand how sensations (such as vision, vestibular and somatosensory) contribute to standing balance and the stabilisation of eye and head movements.
When we walk, we dynamically balance, accurately coordinating the body with how our legs step. As part of an NIHR-funded fellowship, Rachel Rapson, Doctoral Fellow and Physiotherapist at the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, is investigating how dynamic balance while stepping is affected in children with cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia or hemiplegia, and its impact on symptoms such as weakness and spasticity. A feasibility study of a novel walking and balance trainer will begin in 2020.
Reducing the impact of long-term conditions
Stroke and diabetic peripheral neuropathy are increasing due to an ageing population. These conditions, as well as other long term conditions affecting people of working age, such as MS and hereditary spastic paraparesis, and cerebral palsy affecting children and young adults, all affect the ability to move, limiting functional ability and quality of life. This is a large economic burden on health and social care and earnings. Understanding movement disorders and translating these findings into clinical trials of interventions will help to reduce the burden and impact of these long-term conditions.
Developments in our ability to investigate movements in more real-world settings using techniques such as 3D motion analysis and virtual reality, combined with advances in robotics, means we are increasingly able to understand how neurological long term conditions affect movement and functional ability.
Parkinson's research within BRIC
Enhancing research through BRIC
By combining neuroscience research in one central hub, BRIC provides the critical mass and collaborative environment to develop neuroscience research that will translate into clinical trials having a real impact on people’s lives. The access to imaging will provide additional avenues to investigate the pathophysiology of neurological conditions and the mechanisms underlying rehabilitation techniques.
This laboratory will feature:
- 3D motion analysis
- Force plate recordings
- Surface EMG