Neuras 1: Integrative Assesment of Motor (dys)function

Project Leader: Carel Meskers
Post-doc: Linda Bank
People involved: Han Marinus (LUMC neurology), Bob van Hilten (LUMC neurology), Jurriaan de Groot (LUMC rehabilitation), Erwin de Vlugt (TU Delft), Luuk Dobbe (master student TU Delft)
Companies: Noldus, Motek
Clinical Partners: LUMC, Rijnlands Rehabilitation Centre

Information on the interplay of key organ systems involved in motor function (i.e. the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system and senses) under various daily-life like environmental conditions is essential to improve motor function of patients with neurological disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Subproject 1 will integrate haptic robotics with Virtual Reality. Haptic robots enable precise assessment of motor action in a variety of mechanical environmental conditions comprising combinations of a feeling of mass, a spring and a damper. These conditions can be manipulated and the haptic robot can be set to respond to human motor action (using force control) or not (position control). Integration with MOTEK’s D-Flow system allows for real time visual feedback in a virtual reality surrounding.

This set-up will be used to manipulate different sensory channels under various environmental conditions in order to search for the weak(est) links in the patient’s motor performance: is it the muscle, vision, proprioception, attention, motivation and/or cognition? The identified weak links may subsequently be a target for intervention.

Comparison with unobtrusive assessment of motor function within a standard range of daily-life tasks (based on markerless multicamera videotracking) will allow for validation and for collection of relevant parameters (e.g., range of motion, fine coordination), as well as of parameters that are relevant in the context of specific movement disorders, such as tremor or dyskinesias in Parkinson’s disease and spasticity in stroke.