Psychosocial Modulators of Motor Learning in Parkinson's Disease

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Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Medicine

Field Neurology, neurosurgery, neurosciences
Keywords Parkinson'sdisease; motor learning; self-efficacy; task engagement; emotions; social interaction
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Description Using the remarkable overlap between brain circuits affected in Parkinson's disease (PD) and those underlying motor sequence learning, we may improve the effectiveness of motor rehabilitation interventions by identifying motor learning facilitators in PD. For instance, additional sensory stimulation and task cueing enhanced motor learning in people with PD, whereas exercising using musical rhythms or console computer games improved gait and balance, and reduced some motor symptoms, in addition to increasing task enjoyment. Yet, despite these advances, important knowledge gaps remain. Most studies investigating motor learning in PD used laboratory-specific tasks and equipment, with little resemblance to real life situations. Thus, it is unknown whether similar results could be achieved in more ecological setups and whether individual's task engagement could further improve motor learning capacity. Moreover, the role of social interaction in motor skill learning process has not yet been investigated in PD and the role of mind-set and self-regulatory mechanisms have been sporadically examined. Here, we review evidence suggesting that these psychosocial factors may be important modulators of motor learning in PD. We propose their incorporation in future research, given that it could lead to development of improved non-pharmacological interventions aimed to preserve or restore motor function in PD.
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