About this Research Topic
Sensory-motor interactions offer critical mechanisms for how we move. Somatosensory information, from cutaneous, muscle, joint and tendon receptors, are known to provide the central nervous system (CNS) with information about the body and the environment (ex. objects). In turn, somatosensory input provided to the CNS can be relayed to motor areas to assist in the preparation, execution and correction of movements.
The basal ganglia are known to receive input from both cortical somatosensory and motor areas, but the significance and the contribution of these interactions for various aspects of human movement remains enigmatic. A variety of different neurophysiological techniques have been used to investigate the role of the basal ganglia in somatosensory-motor interactions including electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), recordings from deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes, and combining DBS with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the cortex.
Much of what is currently known about somatosensory-motor intereactions has been derived from research combining neurophysiological techniques with behavioral measures of movement. In addition, behavioral and neurophysiology measurements in clinical populations affecting the basal ganglia, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), Huntington’s disease (HD) and dystonia have been critical in advancing our understanding. Determining how somatosensory-motor interactions contribute to specific aspects of movements (ex. initiation, inhibition, force production, timing) will help in understanding the role that these mechanisms contribute to sensorimotor pathophysiology of neurological disorders affecting the basal ganglia. Both animal and human research is critical to developing a thorough understanding of this topic. Furthermore, computational methods that consider the sensory-motor and connected biological system as a whole, including peripheral sensory receptor physiology, are integral to advancing knowledge on this topic.
Original research articles, perspectives/opinions as well as reviews are welcome.
Keywords: basal ganglia, somatosensory, motor
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