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PhD position on temporal expectations in Parkinson's Disease (closed)

posted Jul 24, 2011, 11:36 PM by Floris de Lange   [ updated Oct 5, 2011, 12:27 AM ]
Summary:
We are looking for someone interested in pursuing a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience. The project asks a fundamental research question, using comparisons between Parkinson's patients and controls. The methodology will be mostly electrophysiological (EEG/MEG). The position will be open until a suitable candidate is found. For inquiries about this position, please contact Dr. Floris de Lange (florisdelange@gmail.com) or Dr. Peter Praamstra (p.praamstra@neuro.umcn.nl).

Topic:
We have a vacancy for a PhD position looking at temporal expectations in Parkison's Disease. The proposed research  addresses an emerging paradox in current views on parkinsonian motor impairments. The paradox is that, on the one hand, it is believed that movements guided by external cues are relatively preserved in Parkinson’s disease (PD), providing a basis for the use of rhythmic cueing in rehabilitation. On the other hand, there is growing evidence that PD patients are not sensitive to temporal regularities in the environment and even have difficulty perceiving such regularities. We will address this paradox in an investigation into the neurophysiological basis of cueing. The neurophysiological basis of cueing  will be investigated by examining how patients differ from controls in spontaneous  entrainment to environmental regularities. Entrainment will be quantified in terms of phase and amplitude of slow brain oscillations, as recorded with magnetoencephalography (MEG). According to recent neurophysiological work in primates, endogenous slow brain oscillations adjust their phase and frequency to temporally predictable environmental events. The entrainment of slow oscillations, and nested faster rhythms, enables sensory brain structures to optimise perceptual processing and motoric areas to adopt a predictive mode of control. 

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