Navigation Links
Practice makes the brain's motor cortex more efficient, Pitt researchers say
Date:8/4/2013

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 4, 2013 Not only does practice make perfect, it also makes for more efficient generation of neuronal activity in the primary motor cortex, the area of the brain that plans and executes movement, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Their findings, published online today in Nature Neuroscience, showed that practice leads to decreased metabolic activity for internally generated movements, but not for visually guided motor tasks, and suggest the motor cortex is "plastic" and a potential site for the storage of motor skills.

The hand area of the primary motor cortex is known to be larger among professional pianists than in amateur ones. This observation has suggested that extensive practice and the development of expert performance induces changes in the primary motor cortex, said senior investigator Peter L. Strick, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and chair, Department of Neurobiology, Pitt School of Medicine.

Prior imaging studies have shown that markers of synaptic activity, meaning the input signals to neurons, decrease in the primary motor cortex as repeated actions become routine and an individual develops expertise at a motor skill. The researchers found that markers of synaptic activity also display a marked decrease in monkeys trained to perform sequences of movements that are guided from memory an internally generated task rather than from vision. They wondered whether the change in synaptic activity indicated that neuron firing also declined. To examine this issue they recorded neuron activity and sampled metabolic activity, a measure of synaptic activity in the same animals.

All the monkeys were trained on two tasks and were rewarded when they reached out to touch an object in front of them. In the visually guided task, a visual target showed the monkeys where to reach and the end point was randomly switched from trial to trial. In the internally generated task the monkeys were trained to perform short sequences of movements without visual cues. They practiced the sequences until they achieved a level of skill comparable to an expert typist.

The researchers found neuron activity was comparable between monkeys that performed visually guided and internally generated tasks. However, metabolic activity was high for the visually guided task, but only modest during the internally generated task.

"This tells us that practicing a skilled movement and the development of expertise leads to more efficient generation of neuron activity in the primary motor cortex to produce the movement. The increase in efficiency could be created by a number of factors such as more effective synapses, greater synchrony in inputs and more finely tuned inputs," Dr. Strick noted. "What is really important is that our results indicate that practice changes the primary motor cortex so that it can become an important substrate for the storage of motor skills. Thus, the motor cortex is adaptable, or plastic.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anita Srikameswaran
SrikamAV@upmc.edu
412-578-9193
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UNH researchers find African farmers need better climate change data to improve farming practices
2. Updates in Interventional Radiology accents emerging trends, practice growth
3. Research: Modern Portfolio Theory optimizes conservation practices
4. Turf study to monitor runoff, establish fertilizer management practices
5. Abortions are safe when performed by advanced practice nurses and physician assistants, study shows
6. Stronger support needed for healthy beverage practices in child care
7. Diverse bacteria on fresh fruits, vegetables vary with produce type, farming practices
8. Evolution Marketing Research Grows its Practice with Addition of Three Key Industry Professionals
9. New review sets international standards for best practice in fracture liaison services
10. Traditional ranching practices enhance African savanna
11. The loss of a protein makes jump the tumor to the lymph node
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/18/2016)... -- --> --> Competitive ... Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems ... security market and the continuing migration crisis in the ... has led visiongain to publish this unique report, which ... defence & security companies in the border security market ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... JERUSALEM , March 15, 2016 ... Jerusalem , the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, ... developer of remote sensing technology of various human biological ... funding, raising $2.0 million from private investors. ... technology, based on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... , March 11, 2016 http://www.apimages.com ) - ... reference: Picture is available at AP Images ( http://www.apimages.com ) - ... will be used to produce the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG ... innovations, at CeBIT in Hanover next week.   ... DERMALOG will be used to produce the new refugee identity cards. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... 29, 2016 Elekta is pleased ... to its industry-leading treatment planning software, is available for ... Monaco version 5.11 provides significant performance speed ... speeds up to four times faster than in previous ... industry,s gold standard Monte Carlo ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 , ... ... Asymmetrex will deliver a talk on its first-in-class technologies for tissue stem ... 2016 Meeting on RNAiMicroRNA Biology to Reprogramming & CRISPR-based Genome Engineering in ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... technology at the Spring 2016 Marijuana Business Conference and Expo. Shimadzu’s high-performance instruments ... heavy metals, and more. Expo attendees can stop by booth 1021 to learn ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. , April 27, ... ) announced today that Martine Rothblatt , Ph.D., ... provide an overview and update on the company,s business ... Care Conference. The presentation will take place ... Time, and can be accessed via a live webcast ...
Breaking Biology Technology: