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David I. Anderson

“Motor Development as Foundation and Future for Developmental Psychology” ( Thelen, 2000a ). That agenda included 6 themes: multimodal perception and action, formal models and robotics, embodied cognition, neural bases of motor skill development, learning and plasticity, and cultural and individual

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Robert Chen and Kaviraja Udupa

Several techniques that involve transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used to measure brain plasticity noninvasively in humans. These include paired-associative stimulation (PAS), repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and theta burst stimulation (TBS). Some of these techniques are based the principle of use dependent plasticity or are designed to mimic protocols used to induce long-term potentiation or depression in animal studies. These studies have been applied to certain neurological and psychiatric disorders to investigate their pathophysiology. For example, PAS induced plasticity is enhanced in dystonia and stroke but is reduced in Huntington’s disease and schizophrenia. Furthermore, TMS may be used to modulate brain plasticity and has therapeutic potential in neurological and psychiatric disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and depression.

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Jennifer J. Heisz and Ana Kovacevic

Age-related changes in the brain can compromise cognitive function. However, in some cases, the brain is able to functionally reorganize to compensate for some of this loss. The present paper reviews the benefits of exercise on executive functions in older adults and discusses a potential mechanism through which exercise may change the way the brain processes information for better cognitive outcomes. Specifically, older adults who are more physically active demonstrate a shift toward local neural processing that is associated with better executive functions. We discuss the use of neural complexity as a sensitive measure of the neural network plasticity that is enhanced through exercise. We conclude by highlighting the future work needed to improve exercise prescriptions that help older adults maintain their cognitive and physical functions for longer into their lifespan.

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Masato Hirano, Shinji Kubota, Takuya Morishita, Kazumasa Uehara, Shusaku Fujimoto, and Kozo Funase

The aim of this study was to investigate the plasticity of M1 innervating the tibialis anterior muscle (TA) induced by the long-term practice of football juggling using a transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) technique. Ten football juggling experts and ten novices participated in this study. Motor evoked potentials (MEP) and the H-reflex were recorded from the right TA during isometric dorsiflexion at 10% of maximum voluntary contraction. The MEP input-output curve of the experts was steeper than that of the novices, and reduced short-interval intracortical inhibition and long-interval intracortical inhibition were observed in the experts. In contrast, the ratio of Hmax to Mmax did not differ between the groups. Our results show that football juggling experts displayed enhanced excitability in the M1 innervating the TA, which was induced by the long-term practice of the ankle movements required to perform football juggling well.

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Walter Herzog, Timothy Koh, Evelyne Hasler, and Tim Leonard

We hypothesize that the neuromuscular system is designed to function effectively in accomplishing everyday movement tasks. Since everyday movement tasks may vary substantially in terms of speed and resistance, we speculate that agonistic muscles contribute differently to varying movement tasks such that the mechanical, structural, and physiological properties of the system are optimized at all times. We further hypothesize that a mechanical perturbation to the musculoskeletal system, such as the loss of an important joint ligament or the change of a muscle’s line of action, causes an adaptation of the system aimed at reestablishing effective function. Here. we demonstrate how the specificity of the cat ankle extensors is used to accommodate different locomotor tasks. We then illustrate how the loss of an important ligament in the cat knee leads to neuromuscular adaptation. Finally, we discuss the adaptability of skeletal muscle following an intervention that changes a muscle’s line of action, moment arm, and excursion.

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Yasuo Kawakami and Tetsuo Fukunaga

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Garrett M. Hester, Zachary K. Pope, Mitchel A. Magrini, Ryan J. Colquhoun, Alejandra Barrera-Curiel, Carlos A. Estrada, Alex A. Olmos, and Jason M. DeFreitas

. However, despite the known deleterious effects of aging on neuromuscular function, few studies have made direct comparisons of the RT-induced adaptations between young and older adults. This comparison is critical for gaining insight on the effects of age on neuromuscular plasticity. The information

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Jake A. Melaro, Ramzi M. Majaj, Douglas W. Powell, Paul DeVita, and Max R. Paquette

locomotion 13 , 14 as older adults compared with younger adults rely more on their hip muscles and less on their ankle muscles during walking even at similar speeds. This distal-to-proximal shift in joint kinetics in older adults is referred to as the biomechanical plasticity of gait. This increased

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Lena Hübner, Solveig Vieluf, Ben Godde, and Claudia Voelcker-Rehage

, cognitive performance, and brain volume in older women . Neural Plasticity, 2016 , 1 – 10 . PubMed ID: 27738528 doi:10.1155/2016/9837321 10.1155/2016/9837321 Oldfield , R.C. ( 1971 ). The assessment and analysis of handedness: The edinburgh inventory . Neuropsychologia, 9 ( 1 ), 97 – 113 . PubMed

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Andrew Hooyman, Alexander Garbin, and Beth Fisher

plasticity known as Spike Timing Dependent Plasticity (STDP) ( Bi & Poo, 1998 ). In vivo studies of associative stimulation within the brain determined that the precise interstimulus interval (ISI) between paired pulses is what modulates the connectivity strength on the targeted neural circuit ( Huang