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Exercise and Plasticity in PD: Functional and Structural Evidence in the Cortex and the Spinal Cord

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[Technical Report, Annual Report]

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We will study the effects of intensive rehabilitation in PD on plasticity with a multimodal approach. We will define first, whether exercise in PD restores the potentiation of the motor cortex to normal levels with both 5 Hz-r TMS PAS and beta modulation and whether such improvements are accompanied by structural changes studied with diffusion MRI tractography and network analysis Aim 1. With the study of muscle synergies and spatiotemporal organization of the spinal motoneuronal output during gait and reaching movements we will define the presence of functional changes in spinal cord mechanisms and connectivity and whether such changes are global or involve selective districts Aim 2. Finally, we will study post-exercise changes in sleep pattern, as sleep is impaired in PD and plays a crucial role in the definition of plasticity-related phenomena Aim 3. This project will generate breakthrough data on the mechanisms of exercise, novel biomarkers to monitor efficacy of treatments and thus, possibly leading to better restorative, disease-modifying and symptomatic therapies for PD.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research

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[A, Approved For Public Release]