Mark Hallett, M.D.
Human Motor Control Section
Building 10, Room 7D37
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-1428
The general mission of the Human Motor Control Section is to understand the physiology of normal human voluntary movement and the pathophysiology of different movement disorders. The members of the Section work together on the different projects, each bringing special expertise to the tasks. The main techniques employed are transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), neuroimaging with positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and other techniques of clinical neurophysiology. The principal diseases studied are dystonia, Parkinson's disease, cerebellar ataxia, myoclonus, essential tremor, tic, psychogenic movement disorders and startle disorders.
In relation to the physiology of movement, we have studied the brain processes associated with the preparation and execution of different types of movements. A special interest now is the process of movement initiation and volition. We have been studying motor learning including the process of making movement automatic.
Dystonia has been the main movement disorder investigated recently. We have found that there are a number of pathophysiological problems including loss of surround inhibition, abnormal plasticity and defective sensory function. We are looking further into the mechanisms of these problems. We have been studying the genesis of tics in patients with Tourette Syndrome. Part of our work is to translate physiological insights into therapies, and we have clinical trials ongoing in Parkinson's disease, dystonia and essential tremor.
Maurer CW, LaFaver K, Ameli R, Toledo R, Hallett M. A biological measure of stress levels in patients with functional movement disorders. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2015;21(9):1072-5.
Shields J, Park JE, Srivanitchapoom P, Paine R, Thirugnanasambandam N, Kukke SN, Hallett M. Probing the interaction of the ipsilateral posterior parietal cortex with the premotor cortex using a novel transcranial magnetic stimulation technique. Clin Neurophysiol. 2016;127(2):1475-80.
Thirugnanasambandam N, Khera R, Wang H, Kukke SN, Hallett M. Distinct interneuronal networks influence excitability of the surround during movement initiation. J Neurophysiol. 2015;114(2):1102-8.
Gallea C, Horovitz SG, 'Ali Najee-Ullah M, Hallett M. Impairment of a parieto-premotor network specialized for handwriting in writer's cramp. Hum Brain Mapp. 2016.
Berman BD, Hallett M, Herscovitch P, Simonyan K. Striatal dopaminergic dysfunction at rest and during task performance in writer's cramp. Brain. 2013;136(Pt 12):3645-58.
Related Scientific Focus Areas
Social and Behavioral Sciences
This page was last updated on July 23rd, 2015