abstract Bert Steenbergen

Bert Steenbergen (Behavioural Science Institute - Radboud University Nijmegen)

Rehabilitation of compromised upper limb control in Cerebral Palsy: Using the action and cognition relation

In recent years, motor imagery (MI) has become paradigmatic in the study of the relationship between cognition, movement and concomitant brain processes, because of its crucial role in motor planning and execution. MI is a form of motor cognition that provides an excellent opportunity to study the nature of representations that underlie motor control without confounds from sensory feedback and motor output. This becomes particularly evident when studying motor control in individuals with motor impairments.

It was further shown that if participants are engaged in true MI, imagined and executed movements share common neural substrates. These recent neuroimaging findings point to MI-training as a promising cognitive rehabilitation method to stimulate brain networks involved in the planning and execution of motor actions in post-stroke rehabilitation. That is, MI-training may be an intriguing new 'backdoor' for rehabilitation of the damaged motor system and thus serves as 'mind moving the body'.

In this presentation I will first discuss recent studies on motor planning and motor imagery in individuals with a congenital brain disorder, i.e., Cerebral Palsy. Next, the possibilities to use MI-training for motor planning in CP are discussed.

Short CV Bert Steenbergen

Prof. dr. Bert Steenbergen is professor with the assignment 'Perception and action problems' at the Behavioural Science Institute of the Radboud University Nijmegen. An important feature of his assignment is the relation between fundamental research and the application of this research in the field of rehabilitation and education for individuals with visual and motor impairments. To this aim, he collaborates with LCV3 (special education schools) and Royal Visio (the organization for visually impaired people) and the BOSK (patient organization for individuals with motor impairments).

After graduation at the Free University (Human Movement Sciences, with honours) he worked as researcher at the Werkenrode Insitute (Groesbeek), these days known as Plurijn. He obtained his PhD in the social sciences in 2000 at the Radboud University on the topic of adapted movement behavior following brain damage. He then worked as assistant professor at the Donders Centre for Cognition. His research was in part supported by grants from the NWO (among which VENI and VIDI grants). In 2009 he was appointed full professor at the Behavioural Science Insitute. At this institute he is the director of the PhD program. Next to research he is lecturer at the Department of special education and coordinator of several courses from the bachelor to the PhD level. He is also head of the specialization physical handicaps.