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Oct 2 2020

10/2 – Julius P A Dewald, Northwestern University

October 2, 2020

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Chicago, IL

Watch this webinar live with Zoom>>

Title: Neural Mechanisms and Treatment of Motor Impairments following a Unilateral Brain lesion: Smart use of Mechatronic Devices

Abstract: The main goal of this presentation is to discuss how to use mechatronics in a smart way to study possible neural mechanisms underlying the loss of independent joint control or synergies and flexor hypertonicity in the paretic arm/hand following a unilateral brain injury. Novel interventions using a combination of neurophysiological and engineering techniques to reduce the effects of especially the flexor synergy will also be discussed. I will present evidence for the loss of independent joint control in the paretic limb of individuals with stroke during movements in haptic environments generated by admittance controlled robots. Furthermore, the relationship between the loss of
independent joint control and cortical reorganization using high-resolution EEG combined with peripheral robot-mediated quantitative measures of losses of independent joint control will be shown. The possibility of an increased reliance on bulbospinal pathways, especially the reticulospinal pathway, following the loss of brain injury induced corticospinal projections will be debated. Additional research I will briefly review involves the study of quantitative computer driven visual and haptic feedback techniques that seek to improve the ability to produce the necessary torque combinations for reaching and retrieval motions with the paretic arm/hand using novel bio-robotic approaches. My team and I are also working on man machine interfaces and on pharmacological interventions that seek to alter brain, spinal and/or brainstem neuronal excitability. Finally, we have been studying the impact of time of injury (pre-, peri- versus post- natal brain injuries) on motor impairments in childhood hemiparesis. Upregulation of reticulospinal motor pathways is believed to be the source of altered spinal reflex activity (spasticity) and the loss of independent joint control may very well be an important cause for movement discoordination observed in adult-onset stroke and postnatal childhood hemiparesis.


Date posted

Sep 1, 2020

Date updated

Oct 16, 2020