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Learning-dependent structural plasticity in patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease during complex balance training

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Sehm,  Bernhard
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig;

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Taubert,  Marco
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Draganski,  Bogdan
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois; University of Lausanne, Switzerland;

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Villringer,  Arno
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig;

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Ragert,  Patrick
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Sehm, B., Taubert, M., Weise, D., Claßen, J., Draganski, B., Villringer, A., et al. (2011). Learning-dependent structural plasticity in patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease during complex balance training. Talk presented at Young investigator session – die besten Beiträge des wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses. 55th Annual Meeting of German Society for Clinical Neurophysiology and Functional Imaging. Münster, Germany. 2011-03-16 - 2011-03-19.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-141B-A
Abstract
Postural instability is a devastating symptom of idiopathic Parkinson´s disease (PD) and is associated with a high risk of falling with subsequent injuries and disability. Physiotherapy and training is thought to ameliorate symptoms. However, the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. In this study we conducted a complex balance training in a group of PD patients (akinetic/rigid) (n=21) and healthy age- and sex-matched controls (n=16) over 6 consecutive weeks with one training day per week. In a longitudinal design we performed structural MRI scans (T1 and DTI) before, and after 2, 4 and 6 training weeks. On a behavioral level, PD patients performed significantly worse than controls in the balance task throughout the training. Six weeks of training resulted in significant performance improvements not only in healthy controls but also in PD patients. Interestingly, after completion of the training period PD patients reached a performance level that was comparable to the initial performance of healthy controls. Voxel-based morphometry analysis revealed learning-related grey matter changes in both PD patients and healthy controls. However, both groups differed regarding temporal dynamics and localization of structural learning-dependent changes. Our results suggest that training-dependent structural plasticity may be modulated by disease pathology. Knowledge about the temporal and spatial dynamics of structural plasticity in PD patients might help to guide the development of new treatment strategies such as targeted application of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques.