Most of our everyday movements involve usage of both hands in some co-ordinated fashion. This could be for everyday actions such as to unscrew a cap off a bottle, to eat using knife and fork, to tie our shoe-laces, or for more refined movements such as to play a musical instrument. Research has shown very clearly that when one hand moves, this has an impact on movements of the other hand, and control of the two hands in not completely independent. For example, the well known party trick of tapping your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time results in both hands making a mixture of both intended movements.
There has been a large body of behavioural and computational research into the constraints of bimanual movements. Recently, with the more widespread availability of non-invasive brain scanning (such as fMRI) and stimulation (such as TMS) techniques, it has been possible to indirectly observe and probe different brain areas during bimanual movements - perhaps not surprisingly, many different areas play a role in controlling hand function across both hemispheres.
Despite this body of research however, there is very little direct evidence on what information is used to control the two hands together, and where in the brain this processing takes place; there are several candidate brain areas with a bilateral organisation that could be involved. These include the corticospinal system, the brainstem, the cerebellum as well as the spinal cord.
To find out more about current projects in the lab related to bimanual co-ordination click on the link.
People involved in this project
- Soteropoulos DS, Edgley SA, Baker SN. Spinal commissural connections to motoneurons controlling the primate hand and wrist. J Neurosci. 2013. In press.
- Zaaimi B, Edgley SA, Soteropoulos DS, Baker SN. Changes in descending motor pathway connectivity after corticospinal tract lesion in macaque monkey. Brain. 2012 Jul;135(Pt 7):2277-89.
- Perez MA, Soteropoulos DS, Baker SN. Corticomuscular coherence during bilateral isometric arm voluntary activity in healthy humans. J Neurophysiol. 2012 Apr;107(8):2154-62.
- Soteropoulos DS, Edgley SA, Baker SN. Lack of evidence for direct corticospinal contributions to control of the ipsilateral forelimb in monkey. J Neurosci. 2011 Aug 3;31(31):11208-19.
- Soteropoulos DS, Perez MA. Physiological changes underlying bilateral isometric arm voluntary contractions in healthy humans. J Neurophysiol. 2011 Apr;105(4):1594-602.
- Soteropoulos DS, Baker SN. Bilateral representation in the deep cerebellar nuclei. J Physiol. 2008 Feb 15;586(4):1117-36.
- Soteropoulos DS, Baker SN. Different contributions of the corpus callosum and cerebellum to motor coordination in monkey. J Neurophysiol. 2007 Nov;98(5):2962-73.
Sponsors of this study
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