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Chapter Outline

  1. Starting Out: “Locked-In Syndrome”

    • Jean Dominique Bauby

  2. Muscles

    • Functions that require movement

    1. Skeletal Muscle: Structure and Function

      • Muscles: the largest single organ in the human body

        How muscles are attached to the body

        The makeup of muscle fibers

        Sensory feedback in the muscles

        Opposing pairs of muscles

        Types of muscle fibers

    2. The Neuromuscular Junction

      • The definition of the neuromuscular junction

        The role of acetylcholine in the neuromuscular junction

        The effect of blocking acetylcholine transmission

        Diseases and toxins that affect the neuromuscular junction and movement

  3. The Spinal Cord

    1. Lower Motor Neurons

      • Lower motor neurons are housed in gray matter

        Alpha motor neurons send axons out through the peripheral nervous system

        Gamma motor neurons maintain muscle tension

        Motor units

        Viral infections that attack motor neurons

    2. Spinal Motor Circuits: Reflexes

      • Spinal reflexes

        Deep tendon reflexes

        Loss of the inhibitory feedback mechanism

    3. Spinal Motor Circuits: Central Pattern Generators

      • The work of Sir Charles Sherrington and T. Graham Brown

        How central pattern generators work

    4. Descending Pathways of Motor Control

      • The corticospinal tract

        The location of upper motor neurons

        The pyramids

        The lateral corticospinal tract

        Injury to the corticospinal tract

        Other motor pathways
          -Red nuclei

          -Vestibular nuclei


  4. The Cerebellum

    • Present in many animals

      Motor coordination

      Cerebellar injury

    1. The Circuitry of the Cerebellum

      • Cerebellar cortex

        Purkinje cells provide all of the output from the cerebellum

        Mossy fibers and climbing fibers are the two main sources of input

        Basket cells and stellate cells

        Lateral inhibitory connections

    2. Motor Functions of the Cerebellum

      • David Marr’s proposal

        Theories of cerebellar function: Forward modeling

    3. Non-motor Functions of the Cerebellum

      • Cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome

        The cerebellum as a “little brain”

  5. The Motor Cortex

    • The discovery of the primary motor cortex

      The motor homunculus

      The somatosensory homunculus

      The lateral premotor cortex

      The frontal eye field

      The supplementary motor area (SMA)

      The pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA)

    1. Neural Coding of Movements

      • Population coding

    2. Recent Controversies

      • Longer-duration stimulation

        Complete actions

        Coding for different categories of action

        No obvious population coding of movement direction

        No obvious distinction between the motor cortex and the premotor cortex

  6. The Bigger Picture: Neural Implants for Motor Control

    • Brain-computer interface techniques

      Implanting electrodes directly into the motor cortex

  7. The Prefrontal Cortex: Goals to Strategies to Tactics to Actions

    1. The Functional Organization of the Prefrontal Cortex in Motor Control

      • Primary motor and premotor cortex

        Frontopolar cortex

    2. Sensory Feedback

      • Somatosensory feedback

        Anterior prefrontal areas

        Premotor cortex and parent sensory regions in the parietal cortex

    3. Mirror Neurons in Premotor Cortex

      • Mirror neurons

        Sensory partners in superior temporal sulcus and anterior inferior parietal lobule

        Mirror neurons as a basis for action imitation/understanding

        Theory of Mind

    4. Control Stages of the Motor Hierarchy

      • Sensory control in the premotor cortex

        Contextual control in the posterior lateral prefrontal cortex

        Episodic control in the anterior lateral prefrontal cortex

        Branching control in the frontopolar cortex

        Patients with injuries of the frontal lobe

        The Wisconsin card-sorting task

        Patients with injury to the frontopolar cortex

  8. Basal Ganglia

    1. Components of the basal ganglia

      • Caudate nucleus

        Round putamen

        Globus pallidus externa and interna

        Subthalamic nucleus

        Substantia nigra, pars compacta

        Circuits to initiate/maintain activity in cortex (frontal/medial frontal lobes)

    2. Circuitry of the Basal Ganglia

      • Primary motor loop for simple movements

        Premotor loop for complex movements

        Oculomotor loop for eye movements

        Dorsolateral loop for cognition

        Orbitofrontal loop for reward and evaluation

        The basal ganglia have both excitatory and inhibitory circuits

        When these circuits go awry, either a lack or an excess of motor activity occurs

    3. Diseases of the Basal Ganglia

      • Huntington’s disease


        Parkinson’s disease

        Impact of Levodopa

  9. Medial and Lateral Motor Systems: Internally and Externally Guided Movement Control

    1. Organization of Medial Motor Areas

      • The supplementary motor area (SMA)
          -Somatotopic organization

        Pre-supplementary motor area
          -Connects to the lateral prefrontal cortex

          -Important in preparing sequences of movements

        Supplementary eye field

    2. Functions of Medial and Lateral Motor Systems

      • Medial
          -Motivational factors provide voluntary control over motor functions

          -The pre-SMA activity increases before self-paced movement

          -Medial areas of the frontopolar cortex activity during self-selected goals

          -Posterior medial areas are necessary for simple but internally driven acts

          -Damage to the medial motor areas

          -External stimuli provide non-voluntary guidance of motor functions

  10. Neuroscience of Everyday Life: Why Can’t I Multitask?

    • Bottlenecks in information processing

      Medial and lateral prefrontal cortex

      Sensory processing is a parallel process
      Motor control is a sequential process

  11. Did I Really Do That? The Neuroscience of Free Will

    • Benjamin Libet’s experiments on free will

      Patients with parietal injuries

      Conscious intention without an accompanying motor phenomenon and vice versa

  12. Research Methods: Neurosurgical Stimulation

  13. Case Study: Alien Hand Syndrome

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