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Prof. Dr. Julien Doyon Ph.D. & Prof. Dr. Avi Karni
Consolidation in Motor Learning
Montreal (Kanada) & Haifa (Israel)
Julian Doyon
"Neural and Physiological Correlates of Motor Memory Consolidation"

Motor skill learning (MSL) refers to the process by which movements, either produced alone or in a sequence, come to be performed effortlessly through repeated practice. In this presentation, I will present the results of a series of studies that aimed to investigate the behavioural determinants, neural substrates and physiological correlates mediating the consolidation process for the memory trace of a newly acquired motor skill; a phase during which the memory undergoes "off-line" transformations allowing an initially labile trace to become fixed into the physical structure of the brain through a cascade of events occurring at both cellular and systems levels. More specifically, I will discuss the results of a series of studies in healthy control subjects that either used behavioral night/nap protocols alone, or combined with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings and/or a motor sequence-olfactory conditioning paradigm. I will argue that brain regions within the striatum, cerebellum, cortical motor-related areas and hippocampus that are recruited during training on a MSL task are also activated during sleep. Finally, I will propose that reactivation of this network is associated with spindles occurring during NREM sleep, as activity in those regions and gains in performance the next day are time-locked to those sleep events (albeit not all of them). and that such gains are enhanced when an olfactory stimulus conditioned with MSL is represented again during NREM sleep.

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Avi Karni
"The consolidation of a motor skill in children, young adults and the elderly: a developmental matter of time & sleep"

A tacitly accepted notion is that children are better than adults in the acquisition of skills ("how to", procedural knowledge); an advantage that presumably reflects a higher potential for plasticity in children's brains. Nevertheless, in many laboratory tasks, wherein training leads to skill and procedural memory, young adults not only outperform children, but also seem to benefit from the training experience as much as (if not more than) children. Adults and children show not only significant within-session (on-line) gains in performance, but also significant delayed (off-line) gains. The latter are expressed, in young adults, hours after training if sleep is afforded and presumably reflect structural synaptic plasticity (consolidation) in the motor system. In children, delayed gains are expressed much earlier after motor training than in adults. Moreover, children were found to be susceptible to interference only in a very brief time-window compared to adults, with stabilization of "how to" memory occurring within minutes after training. Thus, skill consolidation required more time in young adults compared to children. In the elderly, the same training protocol was less effective than expected. While older adults showed robust within-session (on-line) skill acquisition, many showed a decline in performance later that day, and a day later under-expressed delayed ('off-line') gains in performance. However, in an identical training protocol but with post-training sleep afforded, significant delayed gains were expressed overnight in the elderly. This suggests a new view of 'critical' periods in skill acquisition: rather than decrease the potential for plasticity per se, puberty extend the memory consolidation phase, thus lengthening the time-window in which new knowledge is tested for consistency before it is allowed to consolidate into long-term memory. Even more stringent control on the memory consolidation phase occurs in the elderly. However, post-training sleep can override these constraints.

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Prof. Dr. Lutz Jäncke & Dr. Emily S. Cross
Neural Representation of Sport-Specific Expertise
Zürich (Schweiz) & Bangor (Wales)
Lutz Jäncke
"The specialization of the specialists: How the human brain adapts to experience"

The human brain is highly specific in terms of implementing experience. Humans need experience, learning and memory to design their culture and to adapt to the particular culture they are living in. Thus, there is a particular necessity to learn, to store information and to use experience in order to control their behavior. This particular necessity to adapt to the environment is reflected in the extraordinary plasticity of the human brain. The studies published so far have demonstrated very specific experience-dependent neuroanatomical and neurophysiological changes in the human brain. In particular, brain areas involved in the control of the practiced tasks demonstrate different neuroanatomical and neurophysiological features. For example, professional (and semi-professional) musicians demonstrate specific anatomical features in the motor system (controlling the hands with which the musical instruments are manipulated), within the entire auditory system (processing the musical sounds), and within the cognitive system (controlling memory and attention functions). But not only musicians demonstrate specific neuroanatomical features. There are also considerable anatomical peculiarities in other groups with specific expertise. For example, professional golf players, handball players, chess players, athletes, academic mathematicians, and subjects with long lasting bilingual experience, and even typists with long lasting practice experience altogether demonstrate specific neuroanatomical features, which are strongly related to their particular expertise. In my talk I will present findings from my own group obtained from studies with athletes and musicians demonstrating the adaptability of the human brain to experience. Based on these findings I will propose that experience-driven plasticity could be useful to counteract age-depended cortical degeneration.

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Emily S. Cross
"The Impact of Expertise on Action Perception: Insights from Brain and Behaviour"

How we perceive others in action is biased by our prior experience with an observed action. For example, whether watching others tango dancing, rock climbing, or cooking a gourmet meal, the degree to which the observer has prior visual or physical experience with dancing, climbing, or cooking can profoundly impact how he or she perceives these actions, as measured by brain and behavioural responses. Research performed in my laboratory directly addresses the link between prior experience or expertise with actions and how these actions are subsequently perceived through coordinated use of behavioural training paradigms, pre- and post-training functional neuroimaging measures, and behavioural assessments of action ability. This presentation highlights some of this research demonstrating how sensorimotor experience (or lack thereof) with complex actions, including dance and knot-tying, shapes subsequent action perception. The first study to be discussed describes a longitudinal approach to tracking expert dancers' brain activity and motor abilities as they learned a complex new dance work. Next I discuss a study comparing the impact of motor compared to visual (or observational) experience on novice dancers learning simple dance sequences in a video game environment. Finally, I explore the impact of a live model on observational learning when comparing how first and second-hand experience with knot-tying impacts brain and behaviour. The impact of experiential shaping of action resonance processes, as well as potential applications for harnessing action-perception links are considered as well.

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Cliff Robbins & Dipl.-Psych. Gerhard Müller
Neural Consequences of Concussions in Sport
Boston (USA) & Würzburg (Deutschland)
Cliff Robbins
"Current issues in sport concussion"

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Gerhard Müller
"Concussion in Team Sports - Recognition, Treatment and Prevention"

Do you remember the soccer world cup final 2014 between Argentina and Germany? Did you see a prime example of concussion management? Probably...

There has not been paid very much attention to mild traumatic head injuries in team sports in Germany and other European countries until now. Recognition, treatment and prevention have been widely been in the focus of neurological and neuropsychological research and practice in North America for more than two decades. This lecture will focus on concussion recognition (causes, mechanism of damages, symptoms, examinations) and its short-, medium-, and long-term consequences. What are treatments and interventions? How can athletes return to training or play stepwise? An outline of prevention strategies (equipment, technique, rule changes and education) will lead to conclusions for team sports and steps to be done. What can neuropsychologists contribute? Where do athletes, coaches, team physicians and manager get support? What can be done in public and media? Concussion in team sports will be a major topic in next the years.


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abgesagt
Mareen Weber

"Current issues in sport concussion"

With millions of injuries sustained by individuals of all ages each year, concussion represents one of the major public health hazards in the US. Concussion, particularly if sustained in sport, is also one of the most contested injuries. This is, for example, reflected in the vast number of definitions that are used to relate to the injury, of which none is universally accepted. Furthermore, the terms used to relate to the injury such as concussion, minor head injury, or mild traumatic brain injury vary greatly in their usage and the message they convey. The data presented will demonstrate not only that terms used are significantly associated with the accuracy of injury knowledge expressed, but more importantly also reflect in injury outcome expectations and potentially injury outcome itself. Given the injury's long-standing conceptualization as a transient neurological injury, long-term effects on cognitive, emotional, and neuronal health have been largely dismissed for a long time. Subsequently, the prevailing injury management approach is still one of wait-and-see, and very little research has been conducted to systematically develop, test, and implement effective treatment approaches. The data presented will outline a randomized clinical trial that evaluated a promising new non-pharmacological treatment approach suggesting injury recovery to be facilitated at the clinical, emotional, and neuronal level.

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Prof. Dr. John Rothwell, Dr. Janine Reis, Dr. Patrick Ragert, Prof. Dr. Franz Bockrath
Podiumsdiskussion: "Non-invasive Brain Stimulation: Enhancement as Training Strategy or Doping?"
London (Großbritannien), Freiburg (Deutschland), Leipzig (Deutschland), Darmstadt (Deutschland)
Vorsitz: Prof.Dr. Jürgen Beckmann, Lehrstuhl f. Sportpsychologie, Technische Universität München
John Rothwell


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Janine Reis


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Patrick Ragert


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Franz Bockrath
"Human enhancement and neuropolitics"

Human enhancement strategies have a long tradition. Plato argued in his "Republic" that the domination and disciplining of the body is a precondition to find the truth. After Descartes had replaced the idea of God by the idea of scientific methods and analytical geometry, it became possible to treat the body like a machine. The German Philanthropists realized this concept in their gymnastical programme, which transformed the human body by using the scientific and technological knowledge of the late 18th century. Today, body engineering has reached a new quality. Medical treatment has already been replaced by enhancement strategies. So called smart drugs offer new opportunities for consumers instead of restricting them. But from a sceptical view, it is still disputable if the new body-, gene- and neuro- enhancement technologies lead to better human conditions or end up in new forms of social order and constraint.

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