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Chronic musculoskeletal impairment is associated with alterations in brain regions responsible for the production and perception of movement

Conboy, Veronica, Edwards, Carl, Ainsworth, Roberta, Natusch, Douglas, Burcham, Claire, Danişment, Buse, Khot, Sharmila, Seymour, Richard, Larcombe, Stephanie, Tracey, Irene and Kolasinski, James 2021. Chronic musculoskeletal impairment is associated with alterations in brain regions responsible for the production and perception of movement. Journal of Physiology 599 (8) , pp. 2255-2272. 10.1113/JP281273

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Abstract

Changes in the way we move can induce changes in the brain, yet we know little of such plasticity in relation to musculoskeletal diseases. Here we use massive irreparable rotator cuff tear as a model to study the impact of chronic motor impairment and pain on the human brain. Cuff tear destabilises the shoulder, impairing upper‐limb function in overhead and load‐bearing tasks. We used neuroimaging and behavioural testing to investigate how brain structure and function differed in cuff tear patients and controls (imaging: 21 patients: age 76.3 ± 7.68, 18 controls: age 74.9 ± 6.59; behaviour: 13 patients: age 75.5 ± 10.2, 11 controls: age 73.4 ± 5.01). We observed lower grey matter density and cortical thickness in cuff tear patients in the postcentral gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, temporoparietal junction, and the pulvinar; areas implicated in somatosensation, reach/grasp, and body form perception. In patients we also observed lower functional connectivity between the motor network and MT, a region involved in visual motion perception. Lower white matter integrity was observed in patients in the inferior fronto‐occipital/longitudinal fasciculi. We investigated the cognitive domains associated with the brain regions identified. Patients exhibited relative impairment in visual body judgements and the perception of biological/global motion. These data support our initial hypothesis that cuff tear is associated with differences in the brain's motor control regions in comparison with unaffected individuals. Moreover, our combination of neuroimaging and behavioural data raises a new hypothesis that chronic motor impairment is associated with an altered perception of visual motion and body form.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0022-3751
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 March 2021
Date of Acceptance: 19 February 2021
Last Modified: 06 May 2021 13:10
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/139161

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