Navigation Links
New approach to vaccine development provides potent, long-lasting immunity

By training a group of human subjects to operate a robot-controlled joystick, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that the slower the brain "learns" to control certain muscle movements, the more likely it is to remember the lesson over the long haul. The results, the investigators say, could alter rehabilitation approaches for people who have lost motor abilities to brain injuries like strokes.

In a report on the work in the May 23 issue of PLoS Biology, the researchers built on their observations that some parts of the brain learn - and forget - fast, while others learn more slowly and more lastingly. Both types of learning are critical.

"We believe our work is the first to show that motor learning involves different time scales and implies that the best strategy in rehabilitating a stroke patient should focus on slow learning because slow-learned motor skills will be maintained longer," says the report's senior author, Reza Shadmehr, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical engineering in the Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences at Johns Hopkins.

Neuroscientists long have thought that two things are required for mastering such muscle control - time and error. Time refers to the need to "sleep on it," for the brain to somehow process and "remember" how to carefully control muscles. As for error, it's thought that mistakes help the brain and muscles fine-tune fine movements. The requirement for time and error explains why repetition of simple movements day after day is used routinely in rehabilitating partially paralyzed stroke patients and those with other brain injuries.

To test the need for time in mastering muscle control, the research team designed a simple and short task. Fourteen healthy human subjects were asked to hold onto a robot-controlled joystick and keep it from moving as the robot driver pushed repeatedly - in quick pulses - to one side. The joystick then pushed repeatedly in the opposite direction and again the subjects w ere asked to keep the joystick centered.

The research team found that after all this pushing in different directions the subjects still were inclined to push the joystick in the first direction, even when the joystick was perfectly centered and not moving. Somehow the brain and muscles in the arm had "learned" this simple movement over the course of the experiment, which took only a few minutes, according to the researchers, showing that sleep is not required for learning such simple movements.

The robot-controlled joystick used in these experiments can measure precisely how hard and in what direction it's being pushed by the hand holding it. Using computer programs, the researchers then were able to apply mathematical equations to these measurements and calculate predictions of how the brain might be "learning" these simple movements.

For example, by taking into account the number of repetitions it took for the subjects to push the joystick in the first direction to keep it centered and how long it took for the subjects to "forget" how hard to push the joystick, the predictions suggest that the brain learns muscle control using at least two different steps.

First, the computer programs were able to tease out that the brain picked up the control task quickly, but actually forgot the task quickly as well. But, at the same time, the brain also was learning the same task more slowly, and that was responsible for the subjects' being able to "remember" the initial joystick-pushing movement.

"Rehab is about training, and you want to be able to train the slow-learning system to be successful," says Shadmehr.

As a next step, the team is interested in uncovering which parts of the brain are responsible for slow-learning. They hope that teasing this system apart will not only improve the understanding of brain function, but also tailor therapy strategies to target slow-learning and increase recovery of muscle control after brain injuries.


'"/>

Source:University of Pittsburgh Medical Center


Related biology news :

1. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a new approach for directing treatment to metastasized prostate cancer in the bones.
2. MSI releases moleculizer - a new approach to simulation of intracellular biochemical networks
3. Stopping smallpox in its tracks: A new anti-viral approach
4. Building a protein name dictionary from full text: a machine learning term extraction approach
5. Rensselaer researchers develop approach that predicts protein separation behavior
6. Huntingtons cure in flies lays groundwork for broader treatment approaches
7. Results of worlds first gene therapy trial for arthritis show approach safe, feasible
8. Vaginal gel may provide a new approach to HIV prevention
9. Clinical trial to test stem cell approach for children with brain injury
10. Study in Science holds promise for a new approach to drug therapy
11. U-M researchers take new approach to defeating Gram-negative bugs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:1/24/2017)... 2017 Biopharm Reports has carried out ... of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). This involved ... current practices, developments, trends and end-user plans over ... and opportunities. These areas include growth in the ... and innovation requirements, hyphenated NMR techniques, main suppliers ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... and PUNE, India , January 19, 2017 ... Biometric Sensor Market, Opportunities and Forecast, 2014 - 2022," the global biometric ... CAGR of 9.6% from 2016 to 2022. In 2015, Asia-Pacific ... security for both public and private sectors. Continue ... ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... 2017 Sandata Technologies, LLC, a leading ... industry, including Electronic Visit Verification™ (EVV™), announced today ... as Senior Vice President of Product Management. ... homecare experience to Sandata, where he will be ... align Sandata,s suite of solutions with the needs ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/17/2017)... , Feb. 17, 2017  Protagonist Therapeutics, ... data on its oral peptide drug candidates, PTG-100 ... of the European Crohn,s and Colitis Organization (ECCO).  ... Barcelona, Spain from February 15 ... detail preclinical data on Protagonist drug candidates PTG-100 ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... GREENWICH, Conn. , Feb. 16, ... focused on venture growth investments in biotechnology and ... Josh Richardson , M.D. to Managing Director. ... companies.  He is a board observer at InfaCare ... Longitude,s investments in Aimmune Therapeutics, Akebia Therapeutics, Cadence ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017   Capricor Therapeutics, ... clinical-stage biotechnology company developing first-in-class biological therapies for ... it has elected to terminate its license agreement ... receptor agonists, including Cenderitide. "Our decision ... as we prioritize our efforts to advance our ...
(Date:2/16/2017)...  Dermata Therapeutics, LLC, a biotechnology company developing ... of dermatological diseases, today announced it has completed ... into a $5 million credit facility with Silicon ... capital for general corporate purposes to further Dermata,s ... of serious diseases treated by dermatologists.   ...
Breaking Biology Technology: