Motor training-related brain reorganization in patients with cerebellar degeneration

Rossitza Draganova, Frank Konietschke, Katharina M. Steiner, Naveen Elangovan, Meltem Gümüs, Sophia M. Göricke, Thomas M. Ernst, Andreas Deistung, Thilo van Eimeren, Jürgen Konczak, Dagmar Timmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cerebellar degeneration progressively impairs motor function. Recent research showed that cerebellar patients can improve motor performance with practice, but the optimal feedback type (visual, proprioceptive, verbal) for such learning and the underlying neuroplastic changes are unknown. Here, patients with cerebellar degeneration (N = 40) and age- and sex-matched healthy controls (N = 40) practiced single-joint, goal-directed forearm movements for 5 days. Cerebellar patients improved performance during visuomotor practice, but a training focusing on either proprioceptive feedback, or explicit verbal feedback and instruction did not show additional benefits. Voxel-based morphometry revealed that after training gray matter volume (GMV) was increased prominently in the visual association cortices of controls, whereas cerebellar patients exhibited GMV increase predominantly in premotor cortex. The premotor cortex as a recipient of cerebellar efferents appears to be an important hub in compensatory remodeling following damage of the cerebro-cerebellar motor system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1611-1629
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume43
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by a research grant of the German Research Foundation awarded to J. K. and D. T. (DFG TI 239/14‐1), and a research grant of the Bernd Fink Foundation awarded to J. K. and D. T. Funding information

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

  • cerebellar ataxia
  • motor learning
  • physical therapy
  • plasticity
  • rehabilitation

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