UNIVERSITY OF MALTA

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UNIVERSITY OF MALTA
LIFE SCIENCE RESEARCH SEMINARS
Web: http://events.um.edu.mt/scisem/
Email: [email protected]
Abstract form
Title: Sensory-Motor control of the upper limb: effects of chronic pain
Presenter: Dr. Victoria Galea, PhD
Contact address: Associate Professor
School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University
Tel: 001 905 525 9140 #22189
Fax: 001 905 524 0069
Email: [email protected]
Presentation date: Monday, November 5th, 2007
Abstract
Natural limb movements are shaped and controlled with input from the peripheral exteroand proprioceptors. Although ongoing sensory feedback is particularly important for
reaching and aiming tasks, in fact any controlled movement is affected by the interaction of
the information fed back from the peripheral nervous system with ongoing monitoring and
predictive control from sub-cortical areas of the brain such as the cerebellum. In this
presentation I will briefly review sensory-motor connections between the central nervous
system and upper limb. In addition I will present current thinking on Internal Models of
Motor Control that form the basis of our research on both typical and disordered motor
control of the upper limb. Specifically I will outline current work being conducted by our
team of researchers (HaNSA) to deal with the problems of functional compromise of the
body due to problems in the neck. We routinely observe disruptions in the neurological
coordination of the shoulder and elbow during functional reach and grasp tasks in patients
with moderate to severe chronic neck pain. In many cases the deficits we observe are beyond
what could be attributed to strength deficits or sensory impairment. We propose that
differences in motor programming and in interactions of the motor periphery and central
processes characterize an “apraxia- like” condition which leads to considerable disability and
deterioration in quality of life.
Recommended reading
Wolpert DM, Miall RC, Kawato M. Internal models in the cerebellum. Trends in Cognitive
Sciences. 2(9):338-347, 1998
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