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Researchers at Arizona State University work to better understand the intricate sensory and cognitive connections between the brain and the hands with support from the National Science Foundation. New discoveries about such connections could benefit people with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy, and those who need prosthetic hands.
The Neural Control of Movement Laboratory in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering focuses on the hand as a model to investigate the mechanisms underlying sensorimotor integration responsible for motor learning and control. Director Marco Santello leads research teams focusing on the role of vision and tactile input for learning and controlling object manipulation, neural mechanisms underlying the synergistic control of multiple hand muscles, and the effect of neurological disorders and neuropathies on hand control. The research has potential for improving the efficacy of rehabilitation of hand function following surgery as well as neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases such as stroke, dystonia and carpal tunnel syndrome.