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Recently posted in Human Senorimotor Control Lab

ElangovanN-2013.jpgNaveen Elangovan, doctoral student and trained physical therapist, served as the lead author in an article titled, "Assessing proprioceptive function: Evaluating joint position matching methods against psychophysical thresholds." The research compared three different methods for assessing proprioceptive function in humans.

The article is set to publish in Physical Therapy, a prestigious journal with an impact factor of 2.78. Co-authors of this article include Amanda Herrmann (M.S., '12) and Dr. Juergen Konczak, professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Lab (HSCL).

Juergen.jpgJürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, spoke at the the University of Minnesota Graduate Program in Neuroscience Colloquium Series on Novemeber 6. His talk was titled, "Somatosensory deficits as markers of basal-ganglia disease." Dr. Konczak is also a faculty member of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience.

AmanJ_2013.jpg Joshua Aman, Ph.D., post-doctoral research associate in the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL), served as lead author of, "Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation improves somatosensory perception in Parkinson's disease." This research sparked Aman's interest early on and was his dissertation project as a doctoral student. His research offers the first evidence that subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) improves haptic precision. This also indicates that somatosensory function is improved by STN-DBS and may be the catalyst behind improved motor function.

The article is set to publish in Movement Disorders, which has has an impact factor of 4.558 and ranks 23rd among 191 clinical neurology journals. Further, its Eigenfactor is ranked eighth among all clinical neurology journals.

Juergen.jpgJürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, is coauthor of a systematic review in the journal Neurology on the frequency of ataxia in children. The review found that the worldwide prevalence of pediatric ataxia is higher than previously assumed. Childhood ataxia in Europe was estimated to be ~26/100, 000 children, and likely reflects a minimum prevalence worldwide.

Ataxia refers to uncoordinated movement due to a muscle control problem that causes an inability to coordinate movements. It leads to a jerky, unsteady, to-and-fro motion of the middle of the body (trunk) and an unsteady gait (walking style). It can also affect the limbs. People with ataxia have problems with coordination because parts of the nervous system that control movement and balance are affected. Ataxia may affect the fingers, hands, arms, legs, body, speech, and eye movements.

Jessica HolstKaren HeggernesTwo students in the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL) have earned their master of science degrees this August.

Karen Heggernes received an MS in kinesiology after defending her thesis in August. Heggernes completed her degree in two years while working in the HSCL. Her research explored if the precision of arm proprioceptive sense can be improved by wearing an elbow brace providing a concurrent source of tactile stimulation.

Jessica Holst is a PhD student also in the HSCL. She received an MS in mechanical engineering from the University also in August and will continue her studies in kinesiology.

Juergen.jpgJürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, recently published a review article titled, "Focal dystonia in musicians: linking motor symptoms to somatosensory dysfunction." The article was published in the open-access journal, Frontiers of Human Neuroscience. The article focuses on how altered proprioceptive feedback ultimately leads to a loss of voluntary motor control.

Italian neurologist Giovanni Abbruzzese, an expert in movement disorders served as co-author.

Juergen.jpgJürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, organized an international workshop titled, "Proprioception, Proprioceptive Dysfunction and Robotic Neurorehabilitation," with colleagues from the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, Italy on July 15-16.

Joshua Aman, Ph.D., post-doctoral research associate in the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory (HSCL), presented a paper entitled "What do we know about the effectiveness of proprioceptive training?: A meta analysis," at the workshop.

The interdisciplinary workshop convened a group of experts with diverse backgrounds in biomedical and mechanical engineering, human movement science, neurology, neuroscience, physical therapy, physiology, and psychology. The aim of the workshop was to discuss current findings on proprioceptive dysfunction and how it impacts motor behavior. Other goals were to determine an outline for future research and to develop a framework of how new (robotic) rehabilitation techniques can help to overcome current barriers in treating patients who experience sensorimotor dysfunctions associated with proprioceptive loss.

Wentzel2.png School of Kinesiology alumnus, Joe Wentzel, is currently featured on the CEHD website for his undergraduate research. The profile describes his path to physical therapy by getting a job in the Human Sensorimotor Control Lab (HSC) through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). HSC researchers work to increase understanding of how the human brain controls movement.

Wentzel, who will begin the U's physical therapy doctorate program this summer, said, "As for working in the lab, I believe it's something any undergraduate should try to do. Not only did it allow me to step outside the classroom and do something that I felt was meaningful but it helped me understand just how ground work in academia is built."

Read the full story here.

Juergen.jpgSeveral members of the Human Sensorimotor Control Lab (HSCL) will be contributing to the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (NASPSPA) conference in New Orleans next week. Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and director of the HSCL, will be one of three program chairs for the conference, serving as the program chair for the Development Perspective section.

Juergen.jpgJürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, published a position paper on the treatment of musician's dystonia with Giovanni Abbruzzese, an Italian neurologist. The article titled, "Focal dystonia in musicians: Linking motor symptoms to somatosensory dysfunction," will appear in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, a first-tier electronic journal.

The article describes musician's dystonia, a peculiar motor disorder only seen in musicians. It consists of involuntary sustained muscle contractions that interfere with the voluntary motor control during the play of a musical instrument while other movements of the same motor system remain intact.

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