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Postural networks: linking cognitive and motor control across the lifespan

Project description

Answering questions in movement neuroscience

Our understanding of how neurons and neuronal structures connect and communicate has increased significantly, thanks to advances in brain research. But little is known about how the central nervous system coordinates the multiple muscles required with almost every movement. Using network analysis of brain and muscle activity (EEG and EMG), the EU-funded POSTURENET project will investigate the neural interactions within the brain and spinal cord involved in postural control. The project will relate network structure to postural kinematics (using 3D motion-capture technology) in order to investigate the functional role of postural networks and to map changes in postural control across the lifespan. Postural networks offer a fresh perspective on a long-standing open question in movement neuroscience.

Objective

Almost every movement we make requires the coordination of multiple muscles. How the central nervous system coordinates these patterns of muscle activity remains largely unknown. Here I propose muscle networks as an innovative and principled approach towards neural interactions underlying coordinated movements and posture to address this outstanding problem. Recent findings show robust patterns of neural coupling across multiple muscles. Application of network theory has brought about a paradigm change in brain research and has been crucial for understanding how neurons and neuronal structures connect and communicate. Here I will extend the approach used to study brain networks to the neuromuscular system and investigate the neural interactions within the brain and spinal cord involved in postural control using network analysis of brain and muscle activity (EEG & EMG). By relating network structure to postural kinematics obtained using 3D motion-capture technology, I will investigate the functional role of postural networks in healthy participants performing postural tasks and to map changes in postural control across the lifespan. Cognitive control and sensorimotor functions will be assessed using standardized test and correlated with network metrics to explain variability in postural control and disentangle their role in organizing of postural networks. By combining advanced computational analyses with state-of-the-art recording techniques, the project will enable reconstructing functional interactions in the distributed motor system from non-invasive recordings. Postural networks hence offer a promising new perspective on a long-standing open question in movement neuroscience. The expertise of my supervisors and the excellent facilities at Maastricht University provide an ideal environment in which to conduct this project and establish my own research group at a leading research institute in Europe.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITEIT MAASTRICHT
Net EU contribution
€ 187 572,48
Address
MINDERBROEDERSBERG 4
6200 MD Maastricht
Netherlands

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Region
Zuid-Nederland Limburg (NL) Zuid-Limburg
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 187 572,48