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Higher-Motor Disorders

Higher-Motor Disorders Group (HMDG)

Our research focuses on higher-order motor disorders such as apraxia frequently seen in stroke and neurodegenerative disorders. Of particular interest are pathophysiological mechanisms underlying gestural impairment and dexterous difficulties in acute and progressive brain lesions (Parkinson’s disease and Multiple sclerosis). Along with the development of standardized assessments, elucidating the neural basis of praxis networks may ultimately pave the way for new rehabilitative treatment strategies, the global mission of our group. We use various neuroimaging methods such as functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, notably repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).

Running Projects

Section Pathophysiology (Prof. Dr. med. S. Bohlhalter)

  • Altered praxis network underlying limb kinetic apraxia in Parkinson’s disease (BOLD fMRI study)
  • Resting state networks and praxis function in Parkinson’s disease (ASL fMRI study)
  • Inter-hemispheric inhibition and recovery of apraxia after stroke? (combined rTMS and DTI study)

Section Neurorehabilitation (Dr. phil. Tim Vanbellingen)

  • A new app home based dexterity training in multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled trial
  • Feasibility of Leap Motion Controller in patients with acute stroke and Parkinson’s disease
  • Cross- cultural validity of the online Dexterity questionnaire 24 in Parkinson’s disease
  • Rasch analysis of the Lucerne ICF based multidisciplinary observation scale
  • Application of rTMS to improve dexterity in patients with Parkinson’s disease


  • PD. Dr. med. Sebastian Walther, Vice President, Clinical Neuroscience Bern
  • Dr. Erwin van Wengen, VU Medical Centre Amsterdamm, Rehabiliation Medicine, University of Amsterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Gert Kwakkel, Chair Neurorehabilitation, VU Medical Centre Amsterdamm, Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Amsterdam
  • Prof. Dr. Mark Hirsch, Carolinas Rehabilitation, Director, Carolinas Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Core Laboratory
  • Prof. Dr. Ann Van de Winckel, Division of Physical Therapy and Division of Rehabilitation Science, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Medical School, University of Minnesota


SNF (32003B_155954), Parkinson Schweiz, Bayer, Jacques and Gloria Gossweiler Foundation

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