Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Parkinson's disease impacts brain's centers of touch and vision

19.10.2006
Movement disorder affects more than just motor control

Although Parkinson's disease is most commonly viewed as a "movement disorder," scientists have found that the disease also causes widespread abnormalities in touch and vision Ð effects that have now been verified using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain. The new findings, by scientists at Emory University School of Medicine and Zhejiang University Medical School in Hangzhou China, will be presented on Oct. 17 at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Atlanta.

Scientists studying Parkinson's disease (PD) previously have focused on the brain's motor and premotor cortex, but not the somatosensory or the visual cortex. But Emory neurologist Krish Sathian, MD, PhD, and colleagues had earlier discovered, through tests of tactile ability, that PD patients have sensory problems with touch. They designed a study using fMRI to investigate the brain changes underlying these sensory abnormalities.

Dr. Sathian's research group studied six patients with moderately advanced PD and six age-matched healthy controls. After documenting the typical movement problems of PD and ruling out dementia and nerve problems in the PD patients, they administered a common test of tactile ability to both groups, asking the participants to use their fingers to distinguish the orientation of ridges and grooves on plastic gratings. At the same time, they conducted a brain-scanning study using fMRI. This technology measures activations of neurons in different areas of the brain by means of variations in blood flow as an individual does a particular task.

The fMRI scans showed that the PD patients had much less activation of the somatosensory areas in the brain's cortex than did the healthy controls. The scientists also were surprised to find similar widespread differences in the visual cortex, although the task involved touch, not vision.

"Our finding that the visual cortex is affected in Parkinson's disease, while surprising, makes sense given that our laboratory and many others have shown previously that areas of the brain's visual cortex are intimately involved in the sense of touch," Dr. Sathian notes. "Although the reasons for this are uncertain, they may involve a process of mental visualization of the tactile stimuli and may also reflect a multisensory capability of the visual cortex."

Dr. Sathian believes the study shows that the traditional boundaries between brain systems involved in touch and vision, and between those involved in sensation and movement, are artificial constructs that break down with more in-depth study. From a practical standpoint, it shows that patients with PD and other movement disorders have considerable problems in addition to movement control.

"These problems need to be appreciated in caring for these patients and in designing newer strategies for treatment and rehabilitation," Dr. Sathian emphasizes.

Holly Korschun | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.emory.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>