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The motor cortex:structural and functional analysis


The objectives are:

a detailed architectonical and neurochemical parcellation of the mesial and of the lateral motor areas in humans and monkeys;
a description of the functional conditions which activate the different cortical motor areas in man;
a better understanding of the role of motor areas in learning and cognitive processes.
Finally, the position and extent of the various areas forming the human "motor cortex" will be used to implement a computerised brain atlas.

In order to reach these goals four different laboratories, each with a particular expertise in the motor system, will work together. The four laboratories have been active for many years in the field of motor control and have the complementary knowledge necessary to achieve the goals of the project.

A fundamental discovery of the last years was that in primates there is a multiplicity of distinct anatomical cortical areas related to motor control. We have now a considerable amount of information on the anatomical organisation and functional role of these areas for non-human primates. In contrast, very little is known on functions and even on the precise location and number of motor areas in humans.

The main aim of the present project is to give a new, modern description of the anatomy and functions of the mosaic of areas that form the "motor cortex" in man. Additional experiments will be carried out on non-human primates. To reach our aim a multidisciplinary approach will be used which will include cytoarchitectural and myeloarchitectural analysis of the agranular frontal cortex in man and monkeys, histochemical and neurochemical characterisation of the motor areas, MRI and activation PET studies in normal subjects, physiological studies of the agranular cortex in the monkey, and a correlation between anatomical data and the results of functional brain imaging.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Via Antonio Gramsci 14
43100 Parma

Participants (3)

C/o Universitaetstrasse, 1
40001 Duesseldorf
Institute of Neurology
United Kingdom
South Parks Road
OX1 3UD Oxford
Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1
Avenue Du Doyen Lepine
69500 Bron