Perception, Motor Imagery, and Action in Real Research and Virtual Environments

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Sensory and Motor Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 January 2024) | Viewed by 7581

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Mossakowski Medical Research Institute Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
Interests: neuroscience; symmetry/asymmetry in neuroscience; neuroplasticity; (bio)markers; modern technology and virtual reality; (bio)mathematical and (bio)statistical modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Brain Sciences features articles/reviews about perception and motor cognition, motor imagery, and action in both real (using classical/conventional methods and techniques) and interactive virtual environments, focusing on multidisciplinary (observational, empirical, practical and theoretical) approaches to evaluate how human beings think, understand, and process the real or virtual world around them. In addition, many studies show virtual reality as a tool for investigating, for example, perception–action, motor imagery training/modeling, or navigation, and this is a fascinating new direction in the development of sensory, cognitive, and motor neuroscience in health and disease.

We encourage researchers and clinicians to present research findings and reviews on this topic, as well as related and key issues that may contribute to the future development and understanding of discoveries in neuroscience. 

Dr. Beata Sokołowska
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • perception
  • motor cognition
  • motor planning
  • motor imagery and action/behavior
  • skill learning and training/modeling
  • neuroscience
  • health and disorders
  • therapy and rehabilitation
  • virtual reality environments

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 690 KiB  
Article
How Posture and Previous Sensorimotor Experience Influence Muscle Activity during Gait Imagery in Young Healthy Individuals
by Barbora Kolářová, Marek Tomsa, Petr Kolář, Hana Haltmar, Tereza Diatelová and Miroslav Janura
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(11), 1605; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13111605 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1069
Abstract
This study explores how gait imagery (GI) influences lower-limb muscle activity with respect to posture and previous walking experience. We utilized surface electromyography (sEMG) in 36 healthy young individuals aged 24 (±1.1) years to identify muscle activity during a non-gait imagery task (non-GI), [...] Read more.
This study explores how gait imagery (GI) influences lower-limb muscle activity with respect to posture and previous walking experience. We utilized surface electromyography (sEMG) in 36 healthy young individuals aged 24 (±1.1) years to identify muscle activity during a non-gait imagery task (non-GI), as well as GI tasks before (GI-1) and after the execution of walking (GI-2), with assessments performed in both sitting and standing postures. The sEMG was recorded on both lower limbs on the tibialis anterior (TA) and on the gastrocnemius medialis (GM) for all tested tasks. As a result, a significant muscle activity decrease was found in the right TA for GI-1 compared to GI-2 in both sitting (p = 0.008) and standing (p = 0.01) positions. In the left TA, the activity decreased in the sitting posture during non-GI (p = 0.004) and GI-1 (p = 0.009) in comparison to GI-2. No differences were found for GM. The subjective level of imagination difficulty improved for GI-2 in comparison to GI-1 in both postures (p < 0.001). Previous sensorimotor experience with real gait execution and sitting posture potentiate TA activity decrease during GI. These findings contribute to the understanding of neural mechanisms beyond GI. Full article
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11 pages, 1447 KiB  
Article
Remote Assessment of Parkinson’s Disease Patients Amidst the COVID-19 Lockdown in Mexico
by Rodrigo León-García, Emmanuel Ortega-Robles and Oscar Arias-Carrión
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(7), 1114; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13071114 - 22 Jul 2023
Viewed by 950
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced unprecedented challenges in managing patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) due to disruptions in healthcare services and the need for social distancing. Understanding the effects of COVID-19 on PD symptoms is crucial for optimizing patient care. We conducted a comprehensive [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced unprecedented challenges in managing patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) due to disruptions in healthcare services and the need for social distancing. Understanding the effects of COVID-19 on PD symptoms is crucial for optimizing patient care. We conducted a comprehensive analysis of the data obtained during the period of COVID-19 lockdown, comparing it with analogous timeframes in 2018 and 2019. Our objective was to examine the influence of this unique circumstance on both motor and non-motor symptoms in patients with PD. Telemedicine was employed to assess symptoms using the Movement Disorder Society-sponsored Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS). Our findings revealed a notable worsening of symptoms, evidenced by a significant increase in the total MDS-UPDRS score. Specifically, there was an increase in Part III scores, reflecting changes in motor function. However, no differences were observed in Parts I or II, which pertain to non-motor symptoms. Additionally, patient satisfaction and the feasibility of telemedicine consultations were high, highlighting the efficacy of this alternative approach during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic had a discernible impact on PD symptoms, with a significant worsening of motor symptoms observed during the lockdown period. Telemedicine was a valuable tool for remote assessment and follow-up, ensuring continuity of care for individuals with PD in the face of pandemic-related challenges. Full article
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11 pages, 1299 KiB  
Article
Is Balance Training Using Biofeedback Effective in the Prophylaxis of Falls in Women over the Age of 65?
by Teresa Sadura-Sieklucka, Leszek Tomasz Czerwosz, Ewa Kądalska, Marcin Kożuchowski, Krystyna Księżopolska-Orłowska and Tomasz Targowski
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(4), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13040629 - 06 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1133
Abstract
The paper aims to investigate the usefulness of training in improving mobility and reducing the risk of falls of patients with osteoarthritis by using a force plate and virtual reality as rehabilitation tools. The study involved 72 women randomly divided into two equal [...] Read more.
The paper aims to investigate the usefulness of training in improving mobility and reducing the risk of falls of patients with osteoarthritis by using a force plate and virtual reality as rehabilitation tools. The study involved 72 women randomly divided into two equal groups: the force plate training group, which underwent virtual balance training with visual motor feedback, and the gym training group, which received conventional balance training only. The functional balance assessment was performed before and after the rehabilitation by computerized posturography in a relaxed upright position with open and closed eyes, with visual motor feedback. In the FPT group in the feedback measurement, the mean radius of sways was 30% smaller after rehabilitation (p < 0.00002); the feedback coordination coefficient was more than 10% bigger after rehabilitation (p < 0.001) and reached 92%, which is excellent for elderly people. Total stagnation and stumbling reported by patients decreased after rehabilitation compared to the first examination. Both tested forms of training can contribute to reducing the risk of falls. However, a more significant improvement was obtained in the force plate training group perhaps because the physical effort on a force plate trains the precise movements needed to reposition the centre of gravity without generating excessive inertia forces responsible for loss of balance and falls. Perhaps the most desirable method of intervention is to train a person’s ability to perform slow but definite body movements. Full article
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9 pages, 982 KiB  
Article
Psychomotor Performance after 30 h of Sleep Deprivation Combined with Exercise
by Tomasz Mikulski, Monika Górecka, Anna Bogdan, Magdalena Młynarczyk and Andrzej W. Ziemba
Brain Sci. 2023, 13(4), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13040570 - 28 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1580
Abstract
Sleep deprivation (SD) usually impairs psychomotor performance, but most experiments are usually focused on sedentary conditions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of 30 h of complete SD combined with prolonged, moderate exercise (SDE) on human psychomotor performance. Eleven [...] Read more.
Sleep deprivation (SD) usually impairs psychomotor performance, but most experiments are usually focused on sedentary conditions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of 30 h of complete SD combined with prolonged, moderate exercise (SDE) on human psychomotor performance. Eleven endurance-trained men accustomed to overnight exertion were tested twice: in well-slept and non-fatigued conditions (Control) and immediately after 30 h of SDE. They performed a multiple-choice reaction time test (MCRT) at rest and during each workload of the graded exercise test to volitional exhaustion. At rest, the MCRT was shorter after SDE than in the Control (300 ± 13 ms vs. 339 ± 11 ms, respectively, p < 0.05). During graded exercise, there were no significant differences in MCRT between groups, but the fastest reaction was observed at lower workloads after SDE (158 ± 7 W vs. 187 ± 11 W in Control, p < 0.05). The total number of missed reactions tended to be higher after SDE (8.4 ± 0.7 vs. 6.3 ± 0.8 in Control, p = 0.06). In conclusion, SDE is different from SD alone; however, well-trained men, accustomed to overnight exertion can maintain psychomotor abilities independently of the extent of central fatigue. Exercise can be used to enhance psychomotor performance in sleep-deprived subjects in whom special caution is required in order to avoid overload. Full article
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Review

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24 pages, 3328 KiB  
Review
Being in Virtual Reality and Its Influence on Brain Health—An Overview of Benefits, Limitations and Prospects
by Beata Sokołowska
Brain Sci. 2024, 14(1), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci14010072 - 10 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2024
Abstract
Background: Dynamic technological development and its enormous impact on modern societies are posing new challenges for 21st-century neuroscience. A special place is occupied by technologies based on virtual reality (VR). VR tools have already played a significant role in both basic and clinical [...] Read more.
Background: Dynamic technological development and its enormous impact on modern societies are posing new challenges for 21st-century neuroscience. A special place is occupied by technologies based on virtual reality (VR). VR tools have already played a significant role in both basic and clinical neuroscience due to their high accuracy, sensitivity and specificity and, above all, high ecological value. Objective: Being in a digital world affects the functioning of the body as a whole and its individual systems. The data obtained so far, both from experimental and modeling studies, as well as (clinical) observations, indicate their great and promising potential, but apart from the benefits, there are also losses and negative consequences for users. Methods: This review was conducted according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) framework across electronic databases (such as Web of Science Core Collection; PubMed; and Scopus, Taylor & Francis Online and Wiley Online Library) to identify beneficial effects and applications, as well as adverse impacts, especially on brain health in human neuroscience. Results: More than half of these articles were published within the last five years and represent state-of-the-art approaches and results (e.g., 54.7% in Web of Sciences and 63.4% in PubMed), with review papers accounting for approximately 16%. The results show that in addition to proposed novel devices and systems, various methods or procedures for testing, validation and standardization are presented (about 1% of articles). Also included are virtual developers and experts, (bio)(neuro)informatics specialists, neuroscientists and medical professionals. Conclusions: VR environments allow for expanding the field of research on perception and cognitive and motor imagery, both in healthy and patient populations. In this context, research on neuroplasticity phenomena, including mirror neuron networks and the effects of applied virtual (mirror) tasks and training, is of interest in virtual prevention and neurogeriatrics, especially in neurotherapy and neurorehabilitation in basic/clinical and digital neuroscience. Full article
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