As the society ages rapidly, we are experiencing a significant increase in the number of paralysis and other motor dysfunctions resulting from stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, establishing effective rehabilitation techniques to overcome them is of paramount importance. The key to achieving this is to elucidate the mechanisms by which the brain adapts to changes in body functions. However, abnormalities in somatognosia (e.g., sense of ownership) can occur even in diseases that do not cause motor dysfunction. This indicates that we create and maintain an internal representation of the body in the brain. Accordingly, interdisciplinary research to elucidate the neural mechanisms of the body representation in the brain and the mechanism of the long-term changes in this representation and to apply these findings to rehabilitation interventions is highly expected. To achieve the above-mentioned goals, we have started a five-years research program on ’’Understanding brain plasticity on body representations to promote their adaptive functions’’ funded as a grant-in-aid for scientific research on innovative areas (FY2014-2018, PI: Prof. Ota) by MEXT, Japan. In the program, we attempt to combine brain science and rehabilitation medicine by using systems engineering to create a new academic discipline that is known as embodied-brain systems science. It is organized from six research projects. Research Projects A01/02 conduct interventional neuroscience experiments on humans and monkeys in an attempt to understand the neural mechanisms of the body representation in the brain and to identify biomarkers that reflect changes of the representation. Research projects B01/B02 create dynamic models of the differing time constants of the fast dynamics and slow dynamics of the body representation in the brain based on neurophysiological experimental data and clinical data from patients undergoing rehabilitation. Research projects C01/C02 attempt to quantify the rehabilitative effects with the biomarkers. By integrating this with a model of the body representation in the brain, we will implement model-based neurorehabilitation and create predictions of prognosis for intervention. This workshop aims to have an opportunity to bring together neuroscientists, clinicians and robotics researchers who are interested in the embodied-brain systems sciences and to discuss about related research topics and future direction in the field.
Jun Ota, The University of Tokyo, and Toshiyuki Kondo, TUAT
Jun Ota, The University of Tokyo
Hiroshi Imamizu, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International
Toshiyuki Kondo, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT)
Tetsunari Inamura, National Institute of Informatics (NII)
Pietro Morasso, Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)
Kazuhiko Seki, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP).
Shinya Aoi, Kyoto University
H. Takashi Hanakawa, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP)