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:2/9/2017)... Feb. 9, 2017 The biomass boiler market ... the biomass boiler market globally in terms of revenue ... boilers. The market for biomass boilers has been segmented ... application, and country/region. The market based on feedstock type, ... residues, biogas & energy crops, urban residues, and others. ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017 The ... largely by the confluence of organizations, desires to ... for knowledge-based systems (password and challenge questions), biometrics ... and government systems. The market is driven by ... demarcation between consumer and enterprise uses cases, with ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... , February 7, 2017 Ipsidy ... Solutions Corporation [OTC: IDGS], ("Ipsidy" or the "Company") a ... transaction processing services, is pleased to announce the following ... Effective January 31, 2017, Philip D. ... Directors, CEO and President.  An experienced payment industry professional ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... Feb. 24, 2017 China Cord Blood Corporation (NYSE: ... leading provider of cord blood collection, laboratory testing, hematopoietic ... announced its unaudited financial results for the third quarter ... December 31, 2016. Third Quarter of Fiscal ... quarter of fiscal 2017 increased by 18.6% to RMB200.9 ...
(Date:2/24/2017)...  VWR Corporation (NASDAQ: VWR), the leading global independent provider ... today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and ... 4Q16 record quarterly net sales of $1.13 ... basis. 4Q16 EMEA-APAC segment net ... the Americas net sales increased 2.5%, or down 0.9% on ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Calif., Feb. 23, 2017 ... dollars, except per share data, unaudited)Three Months Ended December ... BioMarin Revenue $     ... 22832%$ 1,117$   89026%Aldurazyme Net Product Revenue ... 906538%34823946%Naglazyme Net Product Revenue  ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Feb. 23, 2017  MIODx announced today that ... key immunotherapy technologies from the University of California, ... method to monitor a patient for response to ... CTLA-4.  The second license extends the technology with ... likely to have an immune-related adverse event (IRAE) ...
Breaking Biology Technology: