Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Fast cerebellar networks compensate for inadequacies of the sensory system

Biological control of body movements with its versatility and elegance remains unsurpassed compared to that of any man-made machine and continues to thrill and delight us, both by watching or by performing them ourselves.

Top athletes and other virtuosi can perform sequences of movements with a temporal precision of a millisecond (1/1000 second). However, how this is accomplished remains a mystery.

In a recent study published in the journal Nature communications by Fahad Sultan (Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University Hospital Tübingen) and colleagues the researchers were able to show that brain-networks that control movements work with remarkable temporal precision.

Using a combination of electrical stimulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRT) the researchers could watch how the brain reacted to synthetic stimuli. In a collaboration between the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research and the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics within the Werner-Reichardt-Center for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN), the researchers showed in animal experiments with rhesus monkeys that stimulation of the cerebellum led to activities in widespread brain regions with a thousandth of a second precision.

The study could also demonstrate for the first time responses in brain regions that are known to deal with tactile, vestibular, visual and auditory sensory information processing. The results show that motor control and sensory perception are intertwined even at higher integration centers of the brain. The results also help to solve another problem. During the movement of an arm for example the sensory receptors signal the brain the state of the arm.

However due to the delays introduced by the nerve fibers slow conduction velocity, these information come too late to be of use for adjusting the movement by the brain. Scientists have suspected for some time that the cerebellum could provide for the solution. The cerebellum could provide forward models of motor plants predicting the sensory consequences of actions.

These results are of considerable relevance for understanding the consequences of diseases of the cerebellum for motion control and motion perception. Consequences that have to be taken into account for rehabilitation and so far have only been made on purely empirical methods. The results also have important consequences for robotics, which deals with similar problems in motor control.

Title publication: Cerebellar pathways project to motor and sensory parietal networks with high temporal precision.
Published 26.06.2012 in Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1912.
Authors: Fahad Sultan, Mark Augath, Salah Hamodeh, Yusuke Murayama, Axel Oeltermann, Alexander Rauch, Peter Thier.


Dr. Fahad Sultan
Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH),
Universitätsklinikum Tübingen,
Zentrum für Neurologie
Telefon: 07071-2980464
Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung
Externe Pressestelle :
Kirstin Ahrens
Telefon: 07073-500 724, Mobil: 0173-300 53 96
Universitätsklinikum Tübingen
Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Dr. Ellen Katz
Telefon: 07071-29 80 112

Kirstin Ahrens | idw
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>