Title: Postural asymmetries as means for exploring vestibular function in Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis
Funding Agent: The Spine Society of Europe (EUROSPINE)
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) affects a great number of otherwise healthy adolescents worldwide and its treatment, both surgical and non-surgical, places a significant financial burden on health systems. Although being extensively investigated for many years, the aetiology of AIS remains largely unknown. Compelling research evidence supports the hypothesis of a neurological origin, which suggests a vestibular system dysfunction leading to inappropriate and asymmetric vestibule-spinal control of the axial muscles of the trunk and eventually to a spinal deformity. In this pilot research, our ambition is to contribute novel insights into the above hypothesis by investigating the dynamic, kinematic and electromyographic postural asymmetries during a) quiet bipedal standing and b) postural responses to intermittent, short duration Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS). Transmastoidal, bipolar GVS opens a new, direct window to probe to the function of the vestibular system because it directly modulates the firing rate of vestibular afferents signaling head rotation through secondary neurons in the vestibular nuclei and this in turn results in the tonic reflex activation of the anti-gravity muscles eliciting a distinct postural response.The concurrent and parallel investigation of static postural asymmetries and the asymmetries of the dynamic postural responses to the GVS will shed new light into the hypothesis of the vestibular aetiopathogenesis of AIS that will enable the evolution of new methods for early diagnosis and rehabilitation of AIS.
Title: Co-ordination for Optimal Decisions in Dynamic Environments (CODDE) (www.optimaldecisions.org)
COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES
SP3-People: Support for training and career development of researchers (Marie Curie)
Networks for Initial Training (ITN)
Project Description: Everyday actions and social interactions depend on making prompt decisions in a dynamic world. Despite the seeming ease with which we are able to recognize targets for attention and direct our actions, understanding how the brain extracts the key information from the complex input of the natural world to support successful behaviour is one of the greatest open scientific challenges. Meeting this challenge has clear intersectorial benefits: helping to tailor technology to the user, improve interventions for training and rehabilitation, and preserve abilities in old age. CODDE addresses the challenge through a multidisciplinary approach that integrates techniques and methodologies form Human-, Physical-, Life- and Computational sciences. This novel synthesis of techniques and approaches between disciplines and sectors offers real potential to improve understanding of the brain processes that support successful behaviour. The training programme combines local activities with network workshops, training courses and personnel- and information- exchange to deliver an unrivalled breadth of training in sensory-motor research (more info on www.optimaldecisions.org).
Title: Using visual feedback to improve static and dynamic balance in the elderly (80839/67)
European Union–European Social Fund and National Resources (EPEAEK II)
PYTHAGORAS II: Support for interdisciplinary research teams in universities
Project description: Ageing is accompanied by degenerative changes in all physiological systems supporting normal daily motor function. As a consequence the incidence of falling and accidents increases. This research aimed at identifying new means of training/exercise with the support of new technologies and state-of-art training tools and equipment. It was shown that when elderly exercise with the provision of enhanced visual feedback that is provided with the help of latest computer technology, they can improve posture and balance control during performance of daily life functional motor tasks such as obstacle avoidance or reaching for an object lying on the floor.
Project title: «The use of visual feedback in retraining static and dynamic balance in the elderly “Pythagoras II -Action 2.2.3”» Programme: Support to Research Infrastructures, Ministry of Education under grant number 80839/67. Position: Project leader
Project Title: «Retraining balance control in the elderly: co-processing of afferent signals». EEC Improving Human Potential (IHP) Programme (Access to Research Infrastructures) under grants number HPRI-CT-1999-00025. Imperial College of Science Faculty of Medicine, UK.
Project Title: «Development of a virtual reality system for diagnosis and rehabilitation of balance problems in the elderly». Research grant for Technology Demonstration (PEPER, 2000). General Secretary for Research and Development, Ministry of Development, Greece
Project Title: «Measuring coordination and perceptual-motor skills in soccer: Implications for talent identification and skill acquisition». North Greece Association of Soccer Clubs, General Secretary of Sports.
Project Title: «Muscle Changes in Response to Single-limb Inertial Load Variations During Bilateral Reaching». Post-Doctoral research funded by the National Research Foundation, Greece (1997-99)
Project Title: «Development of an optimum footwear for the elderly». Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke (CRCHUS), 1994-95
Project Title: «The power flow analysis as a method to document fatigue related phenomena in gait». Universite Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France (1993)