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Does PT help with motor control?

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  • Does PT help with motor control?

    According to this new Italian study (below), the answer is an encouraging yes. - Dave

    Preservation of motor skill learning in patients with multiple sclerosis.

    Tomassini V, Johansen-Berg H, Leonardi L, Paix„o L, Jbabdi S, Palace J, Pozzilli
    C, Matthews PM.

    Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB), Dept of Clinical
    Neurology, Uni. of Oxford,UK/Dept of Neurological Sci.'La Sapienza' Uni., Rome,

    Background: Several studies have demonstrated benefits of rehabilitation in
    multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the neuroscientific foundations for
    rehabilitation in MS are poorly established.Objectives: As rehabilitation and
    motor learning share similar mechanisms of brain plasticity, we test whether the
    dynamics of skill learning are preserved in MS patients relative to controls.
    Methods: MS patients and controls learned a repeating sequence of hand movements
    and were assessed for short-term learning. Long-term learning was tested in
    another cohort of patients and controls practising the same sequence daily for
    two weeks. Results: Despite differences in baseline performance, the dynamics and
    extent of improvements were comparable between MS and control groups for both the
    short- and long-term learning. Even the most severely damaged patients were
    capable of performance improvements of similar magnitude to that seen in
    controls. After one week of training patients performed as well as the controls
    at baseline. Conclusions: Mechanisms for short- and long-term plasticity may
    compensate for impaired functional connectivity in MS to mediate behavioural
    improvements. Future studies are needed to define the neurobiological substrates
    of this plasticity and the extent to which mechanisms of plasticity in patients
    may be distinct from those used for motor learning in controls.
    Dave Bexfield