About the Project
Fatigue is one of the key symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis that causes significant impairment to quality of life. This project will investigate the mechanisms of neuromuscular fatigue in MS combining quantitative MRI and neurophysiological techniques. Neuromuscular fatigue can have both peripheral and central origins. The central component can be measured by delivering a single supra-threshold transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) pulse over the point of maximal voluntary force. If the stimulus leads to greater force of muscular contraction than achieved with voluntary maximal contraction, it can be inferred that brain to muscle central drive is reduced. A mild reduction in central drive has been evidenced during physical exercise in healthy volunteers. It may be present at rest with greater impairment post-exercise in individuals with MS. In this study, the student will investigate this question with the addition of fMRI technique to this framework. The aims of the project are: 1) to develop methods to measure neuromuscular fatigue both in- and out of the MRI scanner; 2) to image maximal contraction and associated brain networks in healthy controls and patients with MS; 3) to investigate effect of physical exercise on both resting state activity and motor cortex glutamate (fMRI), and muscle fatigue and central drive (TMS) in patients with MS and controls; 4) to examine the above-mentioned fMRI and TMS-based measures with subjective fatigue in both populations. The student will have the opportunity to learn key techniques for neuroscience research as well as transferrable skills. Their contribution will include study design, patient recruitment, and data analysis.
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