This study used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate neural population-level responses, and other oscillatory activity, during a motor task in un-medicated patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD) and a matched-group of healthy adults. The goal of the study was to investigate the locus of motor deficits in patients with PD during each phase of movement: planning, execution, and termination. During the study, patients and controls performed a simple finger-tapping task, while their brain activity was recorded in real-time. Each of the movement phases was independently examined using beamforming to distinguish the brain areas and movement stages where pathological brain activity exists during motor control. Patients with PD exhibited significantly diminished pre-movement neural activity, which indicates that these patients have difficulty demonstrating the proper brain response during movement planning. This is likely to contribute to their diminished movement capacities. This study provides important evidence of aberrant cortical oscillations in patients with PD during movement, and suggests that advanced MEG techniques may be a promising method to explore neurophysiological markers of PD symptomatology. A full pdf copy of the paper can be found here.
The study of the biological basis of behavior is one of the most rapidly growing
areas of life sciences, reflecting the importance of the fundamental and applied interest in how neurons work on an individual basis, and how collections of neurons mediate behavior and cognition.
The College of Arts and Sciences at UNO has established the first undergraduate neuroscience degree program in the Nebraska system to educate students bound for graduate programs in neuroscience as well as various careers in the health or health-related fields.
Students working toward completion of this degree will benefit from the expertise of existing faculty in the UNO departments of Biology and Psychology along one of two tracks: Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience or Integrative Behavioral Science.
An undergraduate major in neuroscience will place students in the position of
moving into one of multiple career trajectories upon completion of the degree.
First, graduates of the program will be in an excellent position to immediately and successfully be recruited by one of the more than 200 graduate programs in neuroscience and related areas, and pursue advanced degrees. These opportunities include working with faculty at UNMC’s growing training programs and opportunities. The newly established Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience at UNMC brings together experts in neuropharmacology with those with expertise in neurodegenerative diseases, and new and exciting graduate programs are likely to emerge from this new department. Neuroscience and related disciplines constitute among the best funded and active programs at UNMC. The Center for Neurovirology and Neurodegenerative Disorders (CNND) and the associated Neuroscience Research Training Program (NRTP) at UNMC constitute an important employment and training outlet for graduates of an undergraduate neuroscience major.
Second, graduates from either of the proposed neuroscience tracks would have most or all of the required courses for admission to medical schools, veterinary programs, and a host of other health-related professional programs.
Third, graduates of the neuroscience major will possess intellectual and methodological skill-sets that will make them highly attractive for laboratory technicians and assistants in local, regional, and national university and medical school laboratories.
Fourth, the growing emphasis on pharmaceutical agents that affect psychological function is driving employment in corporate pharmaceutical firms, for which graduates of the neuroscience major would be competitive.
Finally, students will emerge from the major with the ability to think across disciplines, to formulate questions and seek answers, to interpret data and draw conclusions, and to effectively communicate the outcome of these processes to a target audience. This suite of skills will make neuroscience majors eligible for a variety of career opportunities that are outside of the discipline of neuroscience.