Research: SAYWELL and TAYLOR,

Listed in Issue 164

Abstract

SAYWELL and TAYLOR, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand studied how patients with neurological damage relearn previously learned skills.

Background

Motor learning is the means by which we acquire skilled movements and consign them to permanent memory.

Methodology

Multiple brain areas are involved, and patients with neurological damage often experience difficulty when attempting to relearn previously learned skills. For these patients, the location of the lesion may be critical in influencing their motor skill relearning.

Results

The cerebellum has been described as an 'on-line' comparator and corrector of movement, but recent research suggests that the cerebellum may also have a role in the later stages of motor learning, including the automation of movement patterns, although conflicting research in this area means that there is as yet no consensus.

Conclusion

This knowledge may have implications for the way physiotherapists treat patients with cerebellar lesions. Some treatments in regular use by physiotherapists are discussed, and possible implications for practice are considered.

References

Saywell N and  Taylor D. The role of the cerebellum in procedural learning--are there implications for physiotherapists' clinical practice? Physiotherapy Theory & Practice. 24(5): 321-8. Sep-Oct 2008.

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