• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Brain Stimulation May Facilitate Rehabilitation of Children with Arthrogryposis

Brain Stimulation May Facilitate Rehabilitation of Children with Arthrogryposis

© iStock

HSE academics joined researchers from the Turner Scientific Research Institute for Children's Orthopaedics to study how the brains of children with arthrogryposis control elbow flexion after muscle transplantation. They found that in such patients, more motor neuron activity occurs, which means that the start of a new movement requires more effort from the brain. The paper ‘Feasibility and Challenges of Performing Magnetoencephalography Experiments in Children with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita’ was published in Frontiers in Pediatrics.

The study is being carried out as part of a Russian Science Foundation grant headed by Iiro Jaaskelainen, Academic Supervisor of the International Laboratory of Social Neurobiology.

Arthrogryposis is a congenital disorder of the musculoskeletal system that causes deformation of extremities, underdeveloped joints and muscles, and limited movement. One in 10,000 newborns is born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC). The disease does not progress with age and does not affect a child’s cognitive abilities.

For people with arthrogryposis, it is important to restore the ability to bend the elbow, which may help the individual to take independent care of themselves. This is facilitated by the transplantation of muscles capable of controlling elbow flexion. In such cases, it is necessary to teach the patient’s brain to control the extremity in a way that was previously not possible. The brain does not know this pattern of movement, as it had not previously been produced by the individual in their daily activities.

The study of brain activity related to elbow flexion enables the development of effective methods to rehabilitate people with arthrogryposis after muscle transplantation. Such studies have rarely been done on children, despite the fact that from year to year the age at each patients undergo autotransplantation surgery decreases, and more information is needed about the young AMC patients’ brain activity which can significantly differ from that of adults.

To bridge this gap, scholars from the HSE Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience  studied the sensory-motor function in AMC children as compared with healthy age-match controls and adults. They invited four children with AMC and five healthy children aged 5–10 to the joint MSUPE-HSE MEG Centre equipped with a unique 306-channel magnetoencephalography (MEG). Three of the four children with arthrogryposis had previously gone through muscle transplantation surgery to restore elbow flexion.

Participants of the experiment were asked to imitate the process of feeding themselves
HSE University

Participants of the experiment were asked to sit at a table and bring their hand toward their mouth after hearing a voice command from a researcher, imitating the process of feeding themselves. Meanwhile, their brain activity was recorded using MEG. Each participant was asked to perform 80 movements—40 with each hand.

Combined MRI-MEG analysis of the sources of the brain activity showed that in patients with arthrogryposis who had undergone muscle transplantation, the bilateral cortex activation accompanying the hand movement prevailed as compared to contralateral activation in healthy control. Also, in AMC patients, the cortical sensory-motor activity was less constrained to the physiologically relevant areas of sensorimotor cortex in comparison with healthy children and adults.

Meanwhile, AMC movements were less precise and slower compared to healthy control groups.

Evgeny Blagoveshchensky, the co-author of the study and Senior Research Fellow at the HSE Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience

‘Bilateral cortex activity can be explained by relative difficulty of  initiating movement by children with motor disorders: AMC patients with arthrogryposis might have to engage more motor neurons in this task.’

The brain activity dynamics in AMC patients was different from that in healthy control groups: the brain responses to movement extended over a greater amount of time. The slower the patient’s movement movement, the more extended the pattern of summarized the activity accompanying it. This is likely due to the involvement of a complicated compensatory mechanism in the elbow flexion process.

According to the researchers, since starting a movement is most difficult for children with arthrogryposis after muscle transplantation, possible rehabilitation strategies may include non-invasive brain stimulation, which would make it easier for them to start the movement.

See also:

Only Left Hemisphere Involved in Action Naming

An international team including researchers from the HSE Centre for Language and Brain and the HSE Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience have demonstrated the critical role of the left, but not the right, inferior frontal gyrus in action naming. The study findings are published in Brain Structure and Function.

Machine Learning Predicts Epileptogenic Activity from High-Frequency Oscillation Rates

In an innovative study, researchers from HSE University, RAN Institute of Linguistics, and the National Medical and Surgical Centre named after N.I. Pirogov measured and analysed high-frequency oscillations (HFO) in different regions of the brain. An automated detector predicted seizure outcomes based on HFO rates with an accuracy rate of 85%, and by applying machine learning, made it possible to distinguish between epileptogenic and non-epileptogenic HFO. The study’s findings are published in Frontiers in Human Neurosciences.

HSE Researchers Caused People to Behave Less Rationally by Suppressing Activity in Specific Parts of the Brain

Researchers at the HSE Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience have shown experimentally that magnetic stimulation of the prefrontal cortex of the brain causes test subjects to act less rationally, changing how they assess possible outcomes at the moment they make risky decisions. The scientists believe that the discovery will provide a better understanding of the mechanisms that give rise to gaming addiction. The results of the study were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Brain Found to Simultaneously Process Linguistic and Extralinguistic Information

An international team of scientists from the UK, Spain, Denmark and Russia (including researchers from the HSE Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience) conducted an experiment demonstrating that people automatically integrate extralinguistic information into grammatical processing during verbal communication. The study findings were published in the Scientific Reports Journal.

Early-Career HSE Researchers to Attend Neuroscience School

Two of the winners, Konstantin Sorokin, doctoral student and visiting lecturer of the HSE Faculty of Computer Science and research assistant at the HSE International Laboratory of Algebraic Topology and its Applications, and Daria Kleeva, doctoral student of the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences and research assistant at the HSE Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Centre for Bioelectric Interfaces, spoke to the HSE News Service about why attending the School matters so much for them.

How Bilingual Brains Work: Cross-language Interplay and an Integrated Lexicon

An international team of researchers led by scientists from the HSE University have examined the interplay of languages in the brains of bilinguals. Using EEG data of Russian-English bilinguals, the authors were the first to demonstrate nearly instant and automatic detection of semantic similarity between words belonging to their two languages, suggesting the existence of an integrated bilingual lexicon in which words are activated in parallel in both languages. The study findings are published in Cortex.

HSE Neural Interface Technology to Be Introduced in Hospitals

The Federal Brain and Neural Technology Centre at the Federal Medical and Biological Agency is launching the Laboratory of Medical Neural Interfaces and Artificial Intelligence for Clinical Applications, which has been created by employees of HSE University. Read below to find out about the Laboratory and its objectives.

Russian Researchers Assessed the Likelihood of Sleep Disorders after COVID-19

A team of researchers from the HSE Centre for Cognition and Decision Making and the Central State Medical Academy conducted a study on sleep disorders, mood and fatigue after COVID-19. These factors are interrelated and the researchers recommend a comprehensive approach to treat the problem effectively. The work was published in the journal Neuroscience and Behavioral Psychology.

Foreign Languages Slow Down Brain Ageing

Medical advances are causing a gradual increase in average life expectancy. However, this comes at a price, as the number of cases of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases grows with age. Researchers from HSE University (Russia) and Northumbria University (UK) have found that bilingualism can slow down and mitigate the course of age-related changes in the human brain. The study was published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Unconscious Perception of Sounds: We Hear Differences Even without Listening

Neurobiologists from HSE University and the RAS Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology proved that the human brain unconsciously distinguishes between even very similar sound signals during passive listening. The study was published in Neuropsychologia.