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Ciska Heida: Central Motor Control

How does human neural circuitry control posture and voluntary movements? Insight into the central mechanisms of human motor control and motor disorders such as Parkinson’s disease forms the basis for development of advanced therapies. Deep Brain Stimulation within the anterior-dorsal subthalamic nucleus (STN) or globus pallidus internus (GPi), which are both part of the Basal Ganglia, can be used to improve the suppression of symptoms for Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. However, the mechanism(s) of DBS is(/are) still unclear and side-effects may occur. It is not known which neuronal elements are stimulated and/or blocked during DBS treatment, nor is it known whether the stimulation has effects locally or if it acts on the entire circuit. Furthermore, there is limited knowledge of the connections within this network as well as the interconnectivity within the nuclei of this network.

Computational of (part of) the brain networks involved in motor control aid in determining the function of the Basal Ganglia and the effects of stimulation on network behaviour. In addition, experimental research including movement tests performed by PD patients and in-vitro studies using brain slices provide information regarding the symptoms, and clinical effects of DBS as well as more fundamental electrophysiological data.


  • Peter Veltink
  • Frauke Luft
  • Kees van Dijk