Posts

Of Movement and More

In order to have access to movement, the cerebellum needs to compare the difference between what we intend to do and what is actually feasible. Read more

Emotional Proprioception

If it is true that we recognize the importance of proprioception with respect to movement, we begin to realize that proprioception plays more subtle roles that affect us in a surprising way. Read more

The brain and the body

If it is true that we have long compared the brain to a computer, Alan Jasanoff, professor of biological engineering at MIT, explains why we must go further in this description which is, at least, incomplete. Read more

Motricity and neuropsychiatry

The goal of the study reviewed here was investigate how motor function and perception relate to measures of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and CD (Conduct Disorder).

Children with ASD and ADHD have been shown to have high rates of motor and perception difficulties in controlled studies.

Before ADHD ever was ADHD, in the 1980’s, Gillberg and Gillberg (1) introduced the concept of Deficits in Attention, Motor Control and Perception (DAMP) to describe the coexistence/co morbidity of ADHD and motor and/or perception problems, later often subsumed under the label of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).

It is several Swedish studies that have shown that about half of all children with ADHD also meet the criteria for DCD and that these children have poorer outcomes than those with either ADHD without DCD.

CD is very common among children with ADHD (2) and not uncommon among children with ASD (3).

In the context of the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS), ADHD, ASD and CD caseness was associated with much higher rates of DCD and Perception disorder caseness. CD caseness in itself was not associated with DCD or Perception problems.

Children born prematurely have been shown to have a higher frequency of motor delays and motor difficulties than children born full term.

Omitting prematurely born children from the analysis strengthens that association between perceptual problems and ASD caseness. This shows that strong correlations between caseness for ADHD and ASD.

This study is probably the largest study ever performed on the relationship between symptoms relating to commonly diagnosed problems in child and adolescent psychiatry – ADHD, ASD, and CD – and motor control and perception problems – commonly encountered but often not separately diagnosed, either as DCD or under any other label.

Cerebellar function is of importance for motor function and seems to be of importance in ASD as well as in ADHD (4) (5).

Considering that the major source of input to the cerebellum arises from the muscle spindles of postural muscles, could it be that it’s time to make links between posture, motor performance and learning/behavioural challenges?

1) Gillberg IC, Gillberg C. Children with deficits in attention, motor control and perception (DAMP): need for specialist treatment. Acta Paediatr Scand. 1988;77:450–451. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1988.tb10678.x.

2) Spencer TJ, Biederman J, Mick E. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: diagnosis, lifespan, comorbidities, and neurobiology. Ambul Pediatr. 2007;7(Suppl 1):73–81.

3) Anckarsäter H, Larson T, Hansson SL, Carlström E, Ståhlberg O, Gillberg CI, Råstam M, Gillberg C, Lichtenstein P. Child neurodevelopmental and behavioural problems are intercorrelated and dimensionally distributed in the general population. Open Psychiatr J. 2008;2:5–11. doi: 10.2174/1874354400802010005.

4) Rogers TD, McKimm E, Dickson PE, Goldowitz D, Blaha CD, Mittleman G. Is autism a disease of the cerebellum? An integration of clinical and pre-clinical research. Front Syst Neurosci. 2013;7:15. e-pub ahead of print.

5) Fatemi SH, Aldinger KA, Ashwood P, Bauman ML, Blaha CD, Blatt GJ, Chauhan A, Chauhan V, Dager SR, Dickson PE, Estes AM, Goldowitz D, Heck DH, Kemper TL, King BH, Martin LA, Millen KJ, Mittleman G, Mosconi MW, Persico AM, Sweeney JA, Webb SJ, Welsh JP, Schneider M, von Gontard A. Consensus paper: pathological role of the cerebellum in autism. Cerebellum. 2012;11:777–807. doi: 10.1007/s12311-012-0355-9.

 

 

Of Posture and Power

Some will argue that power holds an important place in our lives, as we are somehow all involved in a social game where hierarchy is present.

Read more

Can abdominal training make you healthy?

It’s ok… I’ll admit it… I want abs! I want abs pretty badly. I want abs bad enough to train 4 times a week, eat low-carb and fast for 16 hours, 3 times a week. I mean… truly… I want abs!

So maybe you’ve figured this out by now but part of my training program is doing crunches and planks. You would figure those would help in achieving my goal, right? Now, what if doing crunches and planks could make me healthier? Do you think that’s possible? How would that be? What’s the link between rock hard abs and… health?

Anatomy 101

Muscles connect to your brain so that your brain can contract them. It’s a two-way street. It happens to be that abdominal muscles send their input to the brain via a relay station in the cerebellum by the name of fastigial nucleus (FN).

Classically, it has been accepted that the FN’s job is to relay sensory information to the brain so that it can control axial, proximal and ocular muscles.

More recently, there are reasons to believe that your abdominal muscles, via the FN, turn on parts of your brain that manage more than how you move!

Of abdominals, cerebellum and health

Abdominal training will turn on the FN and then, the FN will activate areas of your body that promote health. Here they are:

  • The FN connects to specific cranial nerves (CN) that manage the muscles of your eyes (CN IV and VI) and your face (CN VII). The particularity of CN VII is that it is a cranial nerve that allows for facial expression. So, could it be that training your abs allows you to express yourself more efficiently?

 

  • On monkeys, beagles and cats, it was found that the FN connects with the hypothalamus, a critical center for regulation of visceral and emotional activities. This was actually seen in mammals, including primates. So what if training your abs could allow you to digest better?

 

  • In monkeys and rats, the FN connects to the hippocampus, amygdalae and nucleus accumbens, all involved in modulation of emotional activities. Could it be then that training your abs makes you more stable… in your head?

 

  • The FN sends projections to components of the medulla, which mediate the baroreceptor reflex (cardio-vascular function). Could training your abs be good for your heart?

 

  • It has been reported that electrical or chemical stimulation of the FN in anesthetized animals elicits significant respiratory responses. Could training your abs make you breathe better?

Conclusion 

When looking at anatomy and physiology in an integrated manner, one can make links based on research and these links could explain why looking good for the beach actually does a body good!

For more information on how we can help you improve motor control and potentially make you healthier, feel free to contact me!

Crawling… for performance?

If we consider that the development of motricity gives access to mobility, this takes place on 3 levels successively:

  • Stability;
  • Locomotion;
  • Manipulation.

The first mechanism for locomotion is crawling. While it may not be absolutely necessary for standing upright and walking, there is some research that stipulates that is relevant if one wants optimal performance. This study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2038537) highlights the importance of crawling for motor, cognitive and emotional mastery.

Kids that have crawled and kids that did not were assessed using the Miller Assessment for Preschoolers. This specific assessment actually focuses on motor and cognitive performance as well as emotional management (https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-1-4419-1698-3_625).

Crawling seems to be beneficial for you as a whole. If you somehow did not crawl and you are walking, isn’t time to hit the floor?

 

 

Movement and emotions

Italian and Canadian researchers have studied the stress response in teenagers. 150 kids between the ages of 8 and 9 years old were studied. Some already presented with anxiety traits. We studied these children until the age of 14-15 years old. What we found is exciting! 

Laura Muzzarelli stipulated that when anxious kids would see angry faces, their amygdala was activated. The amygdala is a region of the brain responsible for emotions, memory and the stress response. 

This fact is widely known. What is interesting is that, for some, there was activation of the pre motor cortex to inhibit the stress response. The classical role of the prefrontal lobe is to prepare the body for action. It is the first time that we demonstrate that a stress response activates motor areas of the brain. 

Maybe this activation, for some, of the pre motor zones, has a role to play in how we can freeze when we are scared? 

When one considers that Posturology can improve the function of the pre motor areas, could it be that it can contribute to being more balanced psychologically?

 

http://neurosciencenews.com/anxiety-amygdala-premotor-cortex-5071/